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What does GMP mean?
QUESTION: What does GMP mean? I notice that some supplements say they’re manufactured in a GMP facility. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean the supplements have been tested and are safe?
ANSWER: To answer your first question, GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practice, and this refers to the quality control of manufacturing. GMPs are simply guidelines on how to manufacture products and general principles that must be followed during manufacturing to ensure that the quality and purity of the product is upheld. So, although it’s important that supplements are made in a GMP facility, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been ‘tested’ or are ‘safe’ per se. For instance, a GMP facility in the U.S. could order raw materials from an ingredient supplier in China that has less than stellar quality control conditions. The U.S. manufacturer may be following GMP protocols, but the potency and purity of the raw materials from the supplier in China could still be subpar. Now you’re probably wondering, how can ingredient suppliers in China get away with shipping potentially unsafe ingredients over to U.S. manufacturers? Well, let me tell you! If you’ve ever inquired about ordering ingredients or raw materials from China, you’ll begin to quickly realize that there are two types of suppliers in China: the legit type and the not so legit type. Many ingredient suppliers in China will sell you just about anything you want and even supply you with a counterfeit Certificate of Analysis (COA). An industry insider I know was on the phone with a Chinese ingredient supplier and was asking
them for an ingredient they’d never sold before. The guy in China wanted the business and insisted that he could get the ingredient that we were looking for. So he told the supplier to send over a COA when he was able to locate this particular ingredient. Within 3 minutes, my colleague got an email from the Chinese supplier with a Certificate of Analysis (COA) attached for the ingredient that he just said they never sold before! The COA was fake, but this supplier was willing to do anything to make a quick buck. All that said, I have dealt with some very reputable ingredient suppliers in China, and they’ll actually send you a live sample of the raw material so you can then send it out to an independent lab for testing. With supplements, you always get what you pay for, so don’t just shop on price.