Stryka rises to defense of its hoodia ingredient

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

The 'fake' hoodia battle between supplier Stryka Botanics and
customer Certified Natural Laboratories has moved up a notch, after
Stryka filed papers that it says will have the lawsuit thrown out.

Certified filed the suit in state court in Sedgwick, Kan, last month, claiming for $75,000 in losses and other damages after it determined a $40,000 shipment was not in fact hoodia but some other material. However, Stryka today announced that it has filed papers with the United States District Court to remove the suit, and said that it will "aggressively"​ pursue redress in the courts for the damage done to its business. According to Stryka's lead counsel Marc Gross, the lawsuit "won't have legs to stand on once the federal courts have had an opportunity to review Stryka's response." Allegations ​Certified Natural Laboratories said it had been supplied with hoodia extracts and powders by Stryka since 2004, but was alarmed in August 2006 when the $40,000 shipment arrived without accompanying third-party authentication paperwork. Certified said it requested the paperwork several times from Stryka and was eventually sent documents claiming the material was indeed hoodia, but verified by Stryka's own in-house laboratory, not a third-party tester. Certified then had the material tested and found it was fraudulent. However, Stryka president Brian McNally told on the filing of the suit that the paperwork for the disputed batch was no different to that which preceded it. Defense ​McNally this week said that Stryka had an independent analysis performed on the Certified's hoodia shipment, which confirmed its authenticity. It was unquestionably, according to the independent laboratory results, authentic hoodia gordonii, he said. "It is our policy to test and certify shipments of raw material to ensure the highest quality product to our customers. I stand behind our product and the quality of our testing." "The allegations of Certified Natural Laboratories are entirely baseless, and they have already hurt our business and damaged our credibility in the marketplace." Satiety ​ Hoodia has risen to prominence on the back of scientifically-backed satiety benefits and has attracted the interest major food players such as Unilever. The food giant has signed a deal with UK-based supplier Phytopharm and hopes to have a hoodia product on-market, probably under its $500m Slimfast brand by 2011. However, the rise of the ingredient has led to an influx of new suppliers - some of them less than scrupulous - and has led to a situation where sightings of fake hoodia have become commonplace. Hoodia has been particularly vulnerable to adulteration due to the fact it is a rare and thus expensive botanical. The plant grows wild in the area stretching from the Ceres-Karoo, through the Northern Cape, to the Kalahari, has been consumed by the bushmen for thousands of years to suppress appetite on hunting trips. The export of genuine South African hoodia​ is strictly controlled, and it comes accompanied with paperwork certifying its provenance. Research into its appetite suppressing properties and the isolation of the active ingredient P57, (which has been patented and is under license to Unilever) has spawned immense interest in the plant in the West. As appetite management gains credence as an approach to weight management, demand has exceeded supply. Weight management products are estimated to be worth $7bn globally. Stryka sources its hoodia from China and South Africa and continues to supply the appetite suppressant to more than 10 customers.

Related topics Polyphenols Weight management

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