"The two organizations have a shared vision of safer, high quality botanical products," said Kevan Lawlor, president and CEO of NSF at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA last week.
"Our vision is that this new partnership will translate into increased confidence in botanical dietary supplements and added assurance that consumers are getting what they pay for."
It gives NSF credibility as an authoritative source of botanical expertise and standards, while AHP will benefit from access to NSF's laboratories, toxicology and safety reports, administration and marketing resources.
Founded in 1994, AHP has already developed 34 chemical and 60 botanical reference standards and monographs for use in the development of internal quality control specifications.
"The partnership will create more testing methods to be used in labs - ours and others' - and we will be able to produce more monographs," NSF's chief technical officer Dr Lori Besterveld told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
With more resources at their disposal to check not only the authenticity of herbs but also whether they are derived from a sustainable source and extracted without harming the environment, it is expected that more manufacturers will be encouraged to use botanicals in their products.
Besterveld added that she has been using AHP's monographs for the past four years. Going forward, AHP's analytical methods will be confirmed using the Institute for Nutraceutical Advancement's method validation program, which aims for global consistency in testing. AHP's botanical expertise will then be integrated into the NSF dietary supplements program.
AHP CEO Roy Upton told NutraIngredients-USA.com that one of the first priorities of the partnership will be to make available online the information AHP has gathered since its foundation 11 years ago to regulators, researchers, manufacturers and health practitioners - a resource expected to be launched later this year.
Upton is also building relationships with other key industry organisations in a bid to harmonize their efforts to promote the use of herbs and to share, rather than replicate, each others' work.
Like APH, NSF International is a not-for-profit organization. Founded in 1944, it aims to help protect consumers by carrying out testing on and writing standards for food, water, air and consumable goods.