How Products Were Selected:Selected products represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. ConsumerLab.com purchased products on the open market through retail stores, on-line retailers, and direct sales or multi-level marketing companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.
Products were tested in one or more independent laboratories for the following:
- Nutrients: Nutrient analysis using Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) International methods including total fat (AOAC 954.02), protein (AOAC 992.15), total dietary fiber (AOAC 991.43), total carbohydrates and calories (by calculation).
- Microbial contamination: Analysis of microbial contaminants using the FDA's Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) and AOAC methodologies with application to USP <2023> for E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Listeria yeast and mold.
- Heavy metals: Analyses for lead, cadmium and arsenic using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS).
ConsumerLab.com may modify or use other appropriate test methods if necessary to test special product formulations.
Identities of products were not disclosed to laboratories performing the testing whenever possible without affecting product integrity.
To be "Approved" by ConsumerLab.com, a product must meet the following requirements:
- Report values for nutritional analysis which includes protein, fat, carbohydrates, calories and total dietary fiber. Products must meet label claims within a specified range for each nutritional component as indicated below:
- Calories (within 20% of claim);
- Total Fat (within 1 gram or 20% of claim, whichever is greater; or, if claiming zero total fat, no more than 0.5 gram/serving);
- Total Carbohydrates (within 1 gram/serving or 20% of claim, whichever is greater; or, if claiming zero within 1g of claim);
- Protein (within 1 gram/serving or 20% of claim, whichever is greater);
- Total dietary fiber (within 2.5 grams or 25% of claim, whichever is greater).
- Heavy Metals: Products must not exceed the following limits:
Lead:** Not exceed the following limits for elemental lead:
- Products marketed for use by children may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.8 mcg if the product contains more than 1,000 mg/day of calcium.
- Products with a single serving weights of less than 5 grams which are not marketed for use by children, may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.4 mcg if containing 250-999 mg/day of any combination of elemental calcium, magnesium and potassium or 0.8 mcg if containing more than 1,000 mg/day of any combination of these minerals. An additional allowance of 0.5 mcg is provided if containing 250-999 mg/day of whole herb (not extract) or 1.0 mcg if containing 1000 mg/day or more of whole herb (not extract). However, total lead allowance will not exceed 2 mcg.
- Products with single serving weights of 5 grams or more which are not marketed for children may not exceed 2.5 mcg per serving nor 4.0 mcg per daily serving.
- If marketed for use by children, may not exceed 3.0 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on Canada's limit for a child weighing 75 lbs.). If not marketed for use by children, may not exceed 4.1 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on the State of California's Prop 65 limit).
- Contain less than 10 micrograms of total arsenic and no more than 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per daily serving (EPA and state of New Jersey limit - based on 1 liter of water).
- If applicable to the product, it must meet recommended USP <2040> parameters of disintegration for dietary supplements "Disintegration and Dissolution of Nutritional Supplements." (excluding capsule, chewable and timed-release products).
- Be in compliance with FDA labeling requirements.
* Passing scores allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. ConsumerLab.com reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.
** Based on State of California's Prop 65 lead limit. California requires supplements exceeding this limit to bear a warning label regarding lead.