Bank affiliate to support Balkan herb industry
a World Bank affiliate dedicated to the promotion of small
and medium sized enterprises in the Balkans, has begun a series
of initiatives designed to rehabilitate the Balkan Herbal
industry once a major source of raw materials and extracts
for the EU market. With technical assistance from Denzil Phillips
International SEED's first move has been to sponsor a regional
This historic event, which took place at the coastal town
on Portoroz, Slovenia from Sept 17-19 2001, was the first
time in recent years that all those companies involved with
medicinal plants and extracts had an opportunity to sit together
to map out the future of the Balkan herbal industry.
Most of the leading regional suppliers attended the Forum
alongside some of Western Europe's most important herbal manufacturers
and importers. South East Europe has for centuries been a
producer and consumer of medicinal plants and herbal medicines.
The varied climate and geography of the region enables a vast
array of temperate and Mediterranean plants to be grown. A
rich medical and engineering tradition has moreover encouraged
the manufacturing of a wide range of photo-medicines, perfumes
and cosmetic products. During the 1970s and 80s the former
Yugoslavia supplied medicinal and aromatic products to a host
of leading Western European, American and Soviet companies.
Political upheavals in recent times have severely disrupted
herbal manufacturing and trade within the region. Some of
the most important medicinal plants are severely endangered
due to overharvesting and lack of appropriate environmental
legislation. Through this Forum SEED wants to promote fresh
thinking and help reintegrate the regions herbal producers
into the mainstream of Western Europe's herbal industry. For
further information see http://www.balkanherbs.org.
FDA cracks down on Medicinal Plant food additives
the last two years US consumers have seen an every growing
number of foods with added herbals enter the market with a
view to boosting sales and enhancing the functionality of
such food products. Today the US market for such herb-enhanced
foodstuffs has been estimated at more than half a billion
Now after many months of indecision the FDA has finally cracked
down on a number of companies using such herbal additives
in foods warning them that few such herbal additives have
received GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) approval for
use in conventional foods. While herbals such as St Johns
Wort and Echinacea do not require GRAS approval when used
as a dietary supplements the minute they get incorporated
into a foodstuff they are termed food additives and hence
subject to FDA ingredient safety regulations.
If FDA does manage to ban such products it could have a major
adverse affect on the sales of many functional food and drink
products such as Cadbury Schweppes "Snapple". Little scientific
information exists as to what if any negative herb-food interactions
take place. Most commentators indicate that products such
as herbal fortified yogurts sell very well with no reported
negative side effects. For more information contact http://www.herbalgram.org.
IBC Natural Products 2002 moves to Germany
the resounding success of Natural Products 2001 in last year
the organisers IBC Global Conferences Ltd in consultation
with Phytopharm Consulting and Denzil Phillips International
have decided to hold their next meeting in Germany on March
18th-20th with Munich being the preferred location.
Dr Joerg Gruenwald commenting on the decision indicated that
by moving to Germany should result in cost savings while the
location right in the heart of Germany's medicinal plant growing
region will encourage many medium sized European herbal and
cosmetic companies to attend the meeting.
Natural Products 2002 will be a two day affair with an additional
one day intensive training session on the third day. The first
day hosted by Joerg Gruenwald will concentrate on nutraceuticals
and include key speakers from Numico, Smith Kline Beecham
and Martin Bauer.
During the second day, which will be hosted by Denzil Phillips,
will be dedicated solely to cosmeceuticals. Here a number
of companies that sent speakers last year will be presenting
such as R.P.Scherer, Bioskin and Croda Chemicals as well as
some important new speakers from Aveda, Ferrosan, Indena and
Merck. The programme which is presently being completed will
be sent to some 10,000 potential delegates and will also be
available on the IBC web site http://www.informapharma.com.
cultivation of Medicinal Plants on the up?
Cultivation of medicinal plants in Italy has risen to around
3,500 hectares in 2000 reported Dr Carlo Sessa, President
of Assoerbe, the Italian Trade Association recently. About
one third of this is organic particularly in Sicily which
is now sizeable resources into developing organic agriculture.
After Calabria which is the dominant producer of bergamot
and licorice , Umbria is the most important centre for medicinal
and aromatic plant cultivation. Here melissa,chamomile, echinacea
and St Johns Wort are grown. The Alpine region of Piedemont
is the focal point of the Italian peppermint and melissa industry
with companies like Aboca and Brisghello contracting growers
throughout the region.
Italian chamomile production has been increasing substantially,
particularly in Umbria, Abruzzo and Puglia. For further information
Pacific Herbal Forum postponed
The Commonwealth Secretariat recently announced that the Pacific
Herbal Forum due to take place on December 3rd has been postponed
till February 2002. A spokesman from the Secretariat stated
"one of the key objectives of this Forum is to trigger international
support for the herbal industry and the present circumstances
are neither conducive nor supportive of a positive response
and the prudent use of limited resources. A full commitment
is desirable on the part of all, particularly key delegates
and resource persons."
meeting, which is hosted by Brussels based CDE, the Commonwealth
Secretariat and CTA in the Netherlands, will now take place
from 18th-20th February at the same location at the Meridien
Hotel, Port Vila, Vanuatu as before.
Delegates are to be drawn from both the private and public
sectors including representatives from Kiribati, Papua New
Guinea, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Tonga,
Cook Islands, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands, Naulu and Federal
States of Micronesia. The non-ACP delegates will include American
Samoa, Hawaii, New Caledonia, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia
and the European Union.
The purpose of the Forum is first and foremost a tool for
business promotion. It will be a forum for discussions among
importers, exporters, processors, potential investors, scientists,
controllers and promoters of trade in medicinal plants and
herbal extracts. The Forum will discuss trade related issues
such as non-tariff barriers, regulations and licensing, patenting,
standards and quality, market trends and emerging exporters'
and importers' concerns, processing and value addition, promotional
strategies and market penetration, sustainable use of medicinal
plants etc. Some of the following issues to be discussed at
the meeting include
- Scope and importance of medicinal plants and herbal medicine
in the region
- Intellectual Property Rights - Bio-piracy and the Convention
- Over-exploitation, conservation, sustainable harvesting,
role of CITES
- Regulatory issues, licensing and changing European Union
- Quality control, local trade infrastructure and common
- Training and education needs in medicinal plants and
- Value added processing, opportunities, technology transfer
and joint ventures
- Research, development and training activities in the
region: future needs
- Opportunities for technology transfer and joint ventures
in the region
- Development of a long-term action programme for regional
was chosen as an appropriate location because of its well
developed infrastructure, strong long-term foreign investment
interest in the region; accessibility from Australasia as
well as excellent hotel and management support facilities.
For more information http://www.pacificherbs.net.
Ecoport: An essential tool
For those of you wanting to know more about where to grow
and source your medicinal plants one of the first place you
should go to for information is FAO's Ecoport - and it is
Set up by FAO in 2000 as a by product of its Global Plant
Production and Protection Information System (GPPIS) Ecoport
is managed by a consortium including FAO in Rome, the University
of Florida (UF) and the National Museum of Natural History
of the Smithsonian Institution (SI) in the USA. Over 90 associates
and 500 editors contribute to the system.
Ecoport first went public on 1 January 2000 and by July 2001,
142,000 entity records were established, including 42,000
plants. There are over 520,000 references, many slide shows,
35,000 glossary terms, 19,000 pictures etc.
Ecoport now holds records on over 400 plants that are (also)
medicinal in the Products & Uses Field plus descriptions and
pictures and this will reach 500 by the end of 2001. Each
entry has an owner and each contributor receives a username
and password that enables contributors to write information
into the shared database, much as a group of authors write
chapters for a book, except that the 'book' we are writing
is a public database on the Internet. This process uses methods
and tools invented at FAO which allow editors (not only webmasters)
to write HyperText directly.
Each contributor's shared information is displayed under a
banner and logo that reflects ownership and responsibility,
and we clearly demonstrated that sharing and generosity does
not threaten identity.
Many of these medicinal plant records need editors. For more
information contact http://www.ecoport.org.
Japanese pharma companies merge
The recent announcement of a merger between Taisho Pharmaceuticals
and Tanabe Seiyaku should create a powerful new force in OTC
medicine and functional foods in Japan. Taisho Pharma has
a turnover of just under $ 2 billion 41% of which comes from
the sale of nutrients and tonic drinks. Tanabe on the other
hands has a turnover of little more than $85 Million almost
exclusively in the field of prescription drugs.
Taisho maintain that the merger will enable them to concentrate
on their thriving nutrition business, particularly their highly
successful tonic drink LIPOVITAN. They plan to shift their
prescription medicine business to Tanabe.
Taisho presently has only a very small ethical drug portfolio
representing less than 25% of their turnover. It is, however,
the number one OTC producer in Japan with leading brands such
as the COLAC laxative product and painkiller NARON ACE. For
further information see http://www.taisho.co.jp.
New lease of life for Benecol
the Finnish functional food produced by Raisco and marketed
by McNeil received a new lease of life recently after US medical
authorities endorsed the use of plant stanol esters in foodstuffs
such as margarine.
Sales of the much publicised Benecol spread have for many
months been below market expectations although considerable
research exists to show that the active ingredient in these
products, plant stanols had a cholesterol lowering effect.
Prior to the recent US announcement McNeil were only allowed
to claim Benecol "promoted healthy cholesterol" a statement
which most consumers found vague and confusion. New packaging
and labelling has been developed which includes the new allowable
claims concerning a reduced risk of Coronary heart disease.
The number of Americans reporting high cholesterol has risen
from 52 million to 65 million within the last seven years.
European organics booming
by Birgit Boor, Managing Director, Bioherb,
Organic agriculture as the term is defined is practised for
more than 70 years. Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner conceived
of the concept in 1924, stressing that agricultural productivity
could be achieved by working with the forces of nature. Similar
developments took place in other parts of the world. People
were convinced that man depends on nature and thus has to
The 1970s saw the real take off in the development of organic
agriculture. New associations established themselves backed
by standards and symbol schemes. In 1972 the International
Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) was founded
as a non-profit federation, representing organisations involved
in production, certification, research, education and promotion
of organic agriculture. IFOAM developed the basic standards
of organic agriculture in order to have a common understanding
of the term world-wide. Simultaneously the organic market
started at the beginning of the seventies.
were certified by the various organic farmers associations.
Outlets were mainly natural food-shops. An immense expansion
took place since then in terms of:
area under organic production
trade in organic products
manufactured products with organic ingredients
retail sector promoting organic sales
figure above shows the development of organic agriculture
in western Europe. Some European countries are supporting
organic agriculture by giving subsidies for Ministers of agriculture
and permanent secretaries of the Nordic countries (Denmark,
Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) gave a common statement
during the BioFach 1998 that they will promote organic agriculture
and will collaborate in this concern in future. After the
occurrence of BSE in Germany, the German government is highly
supporting organic agriculture. The case is very similar in
Switzerland and Austria. agriculture has gained importance
in modern societies.
Organic agriculture is taught at all agricultural universities
in Germany. The University of Kassel, section agriculture
is exclusively dealing with organic agriculture. Research
and education in organic agriculture has also a rank in neighbouring
countries. For further information on organic agriculture
and certification contact http://www.bioherb.de.
UK cosmetic trade association
On-line herbal materials trading
US Food and Drugs administration
Association of Phytotherapists
Info on the Drug Information Association
Wworld packaging organisation
Herbal retail database
Industrial Leadership for the Preservation of Medicinal
and Aromatic Plants
Sheraton Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, USA 26th-27th
Industry/conservation meeting organised by the Medicinal
Plant Working Group with the active support of AHPA , AVEDA,
GSK and Fronteir Herbs on the theme of: "Are you using sustainably
sourced medicinal and aromatic plants for product development?"
Speakers from both industry and the US conservation movements
will discuss strategy for long term conservation of key
raw materials for the herbal industry.
Natural Products 2002
Forum Hotel, Munich, Germany 18th-20th March 2002
The definite symposium on the prospects and problems of
the natural products industry with one day devoted to nutraceuticals
and the other to the rapidly growing field of cosmeceuticals
and therapeutic cosmetics. Speakers from Europe's leading
natural products industry including Numico, GlaxoSmithKline,
Martin Bauer, Indena, Aveda and Bioskin.
Products Europe 2002
Grand Hall Olympia, London 7th-8th April 2002
The "original" natural products show and the leading fair
for natural products and organic foods in the UK. Having
moved from Brighton in 2000 to Olympia the fair is even
bigger and better. An associated conference and product
presentations takes place during the show.
5th International Exhibition & Conference 14-16th May 2000
Provides a meeting point for professionals involved in the
science, technology and marketing of nutraceuticals, dietary
and herbal supplements, ingredients, functional foods and
OTC pharmaceuticals. Organised by PalExpo, Vitafoods is
expecting over 300 exhibitors and 5,000 professional visitors.
It will include some top grade speeches on regulatory problems,
marketing trends and technical developments.
Product Expo Europe
RAI International Exhibition and Congress Centre, Amsterdam
Geneva, Switzerland 24th-26th April 2001
New Hope International Media, organisers of Expo East and
Expo West, make their first sortie across the Atlantic to
tap the relatively undeveloped market for nutraceutcal and
health food shows in Europe. The show will be divided into
two halls - one for supplements and one for health foods
- and will include an extensive conference programme highlighting
scientific and marketing issues relevant to the industry.