Natural product manufacturer NOW has begun making all the Certificates of Analysis (CofA) for its line of more than 90 100% pure essential oils.
Each CofA, searchable by product lot number, shows the results of quality testing that each essential oil has undergone, confirming that it adheres to its product specifications and NOW standards.
Essential oils are concentrated mixtures of various plant-based compounds referred to as its “constituents.” The rich scents and diverse properties attributed to different essential oils arise from the thousands of different chemical compounds that exist in nature. NOW utilises analytical instruments such as Gas Chromatography paired with Flame Ionisation and Mass Spectrometer detectors (GC-FID/MS) to generate a unique “fingerprint” for each essential oil.
A GC Profile report identifies all the different constituents within a specified essential oil, and the level (expressed as a percent) at which each compound is present. This information allows for inferences to be made about the essential oil's purity, quality, safety, and potential uses. It also tells if the oil is in its natural state or whether synthetic compounds have been added to enhance the aroma or to mask a low-quality oil, either of which NOW would reject.
The logistical challenges of making these CofAs public are significant
NOW’s essential oil blends do not have CofAs, as they are mixtures of multiple pure essential oils combined at specific ratios. The identity and purity of each pure essential oil is confirmed prior to blending. The essential oil blends are only evaluated for physical properties, such as specific gravity and sensory, to ensure precision of the blending procedure. NOW’s process is fully traceable and the information regarding each oil used in the blend can be easily retrieved, if needed.
Essential oils are the initial product category in this aspect of NOW’s ongoing commitment to transparency. Work is underway to expand the public CofA program to other categories. The process of posting all CofAs online will be handled in a few stages, so initially not all products will have a corresponding set of results available for viewing.
“Transparency has always been a priority for NOW, and we’ve continually raised the bar,” said Katie Banaszewski, NOW Senior Director of Quality. “The logistical challenges of making these CofAs public are significant, but we’re pleased to have achieved this first milestone in showing consumers the data behind our quality claims.”