Controlled Quality at the Highest Level
Take A.Vogel Echinaforce® as an example. As soon as the Echinacea plants are delivered straight from being harvested, they undergo their first quality control check by an expert member of staff. Thereafter the fresh plants are checked and analysed during every processing phase in our Quality Control laboratory.
The first quality check of the freshly harvested Echinacea purpurea plants by an expert member of the Quality Control team.
Experience and know-how is our strength
Our quality experts carry out visual checks, paying particular attention to colour. Odour and taste are also checked as a matter of routine. This requires some considerable experience, as herbal products are generally subject to natural variations.
A.Vogel products from fresh plants are subject to natural variations and therefore demand specific knowledge and a great deal of experience from testers.
TLC and HPLC identity testing
Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography guarantee that the components and their qualitative composition are correct. They allow one to separate the constituents in an extract so each component can be visually identified.
Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) of an Echinacea purpurea tincture.
Purity during each processing phase is of the utmost importance. Chopped plant parts are tested for over 100 pesticides as well as for heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury. Although these substances are in no way added during the controlled organic cultivation of the plants, they can be carried great distances in the air. The microbial testing and determination of aflatoxins (fungal toxins) confirm the freshness of the delivered plants. The tinctures are tested for their density and alcohol content.
Determination of dry mass in fresh plants.
From the fresh plant to A.Vogel Echinaforce® Tincture
95 % of A.Vogel Echinaforce® consists of a tincture made from the flowering herb and 5 % of a tincture made from Echinacea purpurea roots. According to the respective testing plan, all checks are therefore carried out:
- for the aerial parts of the fresh Echinacea plants
- for the roots of the fresh Echinacea plants
- for the tincture made from the aerial parts of the Echinacea plants
- for the tincture made from the roots of the Echinacea plants
- and for the mixed Echinaforce® tincture
Before the finished A.Vogel Echinaforce® Tincture is obtained, more than 50 checks, tests and analyses are performed.
The other ingredients
All ingredients are carefully tested at the Quality Control laboratory. The water and alcohol used to extract the components from the Echinacea plants are constantly monitored. Only pure water may be given to plants cultivated under controlled organic conditions. Therefore, in addition to being tested for its appearance, odour, and taste, the water used also undergoes testing for microbes, heavy metals and nitrates. A total of 9 test steps have to be carried out.
Drinking alcohol, the highest quality ethanol is used for A.Vogel Echinaforce®. It is supplied by the state Swiss Alcohol Authority in Bern. 20 laboratory tests confirm that the certificate provided with each delivery is correct.
Preparation of analysis samples in the centrifuge.
Checks during production
Each processing step during production is documented in writing and approved by the responsible member of staff. All weighed substances are checked by a second member of staff and recorded in the batch-specific manufacturing protocol.
Quality is high on the list of priorities during production.
The packaging material
It is also extremely important that the packaging for A.Vogel Echinaforce®, i.e. the glass bottles, dosing devices and caps, comply with the specified standards. Labels, boxes and patient information leaflets from the printers are carefully checked in order to make sure that the end user receives the right information on Echinaforce®.
The end product
After the filled bottles leave the packaging department, they have to get over a final decisive quality hurdle: they are first of all rechecked to make sure that the right product has been packed with the right packaging material. The batch number and expiry date are important information for our customers.
Not until all tests have been carried out and the more than 100 specified quality parameters have been observed and approved by our Quality Control experts, can the packs of A.Vogel Echinaforce® be shipped from the warehouse in Roggwil.
Packaging, too, has to be right.
When Echinaforce® tincture is processed into tablets, almost 90 further tests have to be carried out in order to guarantee the usual outstanding A.Vogel quality. Checks and analyses are again performed during each processing phase exactly according to the test plan. Before they are used, all the other tablet ingredients are tested to ensure that they comply with the relevant pharmacopoeias. In addition to identity, purity and content, technological parameters such as the flowing properties of a particular substance, which is important for checking whether it is suitable for tableting, are tested.
For example, the resistance to crushing test of the tablets is particularly interesting to watch. The tablets are not allowed to be too crumbly and have to remain intact during delivery to their end customers. They may not be too firmly pressed, however, otherwise they will not dissolve within the specified time after being taken. This is again determined using a different test.
The test on resistance to crushing: the tablets are not allowed to be too crumbly or too firmly pressed.
At our customers’ service
Our customers expect fresh plant remedies of the highest standard from A.Vogel. A team of approximately 18 Quality Control employees is fully committed to ensuring high quality.
The A.Vogel brand takes quality very seriously because our quality is the foundation for the high therapeutic efficacy of our remedies.