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How to Know if your Local Elderberry is Safe

Andrea Leyerle

Posted on June 03 2020

How to Know if your Local Elderberry is Safe

Our Pure Elderberry Syrup is the first product I ever created at Andi Lynn’s. Elderberry is the perfect gateway berry if you’re looking to start your journey into herbalism. It has become such a trendy product to create and sell since I started my business in March of 2011. 

It’s important to me that you know the quality of what you’re buying because you are giving this to your family and friends to help them stay healthy, not to make them sick. Dried elderberries and herbs cooked on a stove, strained, and mixed with honey- what could go wrong? Sadly, a lot can go wrong if your source is untrained and inexperienced. 

"Hey my daughter has the sniffles and I hear elderberries are supposed to help. I saw on the Next Door app that a lady down the street makes elderberry syrup. I’ll go pick it up." What could go wrong?

VERIFIED SOURCE OF INGREDIENTS: In herb school, I learned how to verify a source of raw materials. All of our ingredients are sourced from a dedicated supplier who provides me a Certificate of Authenticity. These suppliers ensure that we always put the same quality of ingredients in each batch. To take it a step further, we also make it a priority to test each batch of product that we create to be sure that there is no presence or potential for bacteria and mold. If a product that you purchase is not being batch tested, then it has the potential to harm you instead of help. When demand is high, elderberries can be difficult to source which can lead to a risk of compromising quality. We all know someone who made a purchase online and was disappointed when it fell short of expectation. What you pay for is not always what you get. Ask your local source if their ingredients are verified and certified authentic. Ask if they test each batch for mold. 

It’s also important to know where your elderberry syrup is being made. When you don’t know where your products are coming from, you’re putting yourself at risk of consuming a product that is not handled safely. Does your local source use a certified kitchen that is registered with the Health Department? The kitchen should be inspected before they begin to use the facility and every 6 months after that. Any commercial kitchen should have a three compartment sink: One for washing, one for rinsing and one for sanitizing. These rules are designed to keep you safe and you can check with your Health Department to learn the rules of  production in your state.

SERVE SAFE TRAINING: Has your local source of elderberry syrup participated in safe food handling training and received a certificate? In these classes, I learned how long a product can safely stay out of the refrigerator before bacteria will start to grow. I learned about sanitizing all my equipment, and dedicating space and utensils just for my branded products. I also learned about labeling laws, what is required to be on the label and I learned the special consideration on labeling for the top 8 allergens. 

HEALTH CLAIMS ARE REGULATED BY THE FDA: Is your local source of elderberry syrup claiming that their product helps the immune system and aids with cold symptoms? These types of claims are not regulated by cottage law or the local Health Department. They are regulated by the FDA which requires every local source to register their location with the FDA.. If they're not registered with the FDA, it is considered both illegal and extremely risky. In our warehouse kitchen, we are regularly inspected to ensure our products are clean and safe for you. Our syrups are made in a cGMP - compliant facility, and it’s regularly inspected by the FDA. 

Have you ever opened a jar of homemade elderberry syrup and had it fizz or bubble up? Some online recipes for homemade elderberry syrup call for you to leave the product out on the counter after separating the herbs from the liquid. This is dangerous because of time-temperature controls. Safe food handling instructed me how to safely mix honey into my elderberry syrup without risking bacteria and mold. I also learned that a product that has to be kept refrigerated and must be held and transported in a refrigerated truck. Moving in and out of a fridge or leaving a product in an ice chest is not guaranteed safe because heat can cause bacteria to start to grow inside the container. At Andi Lynn's, we are shelf stable and eliminate the risk. 

CHECK FOR THE USDA APPROVAL: Our products are USDA Certified Organic. Simply put, our products are all natural with NO additives, chemicals or preservatives. We have provided our process and recipe for this inspection to use the Certified Organic Label and we have passed the test!

We have been approved by Whole Foods Global Body to sell our elderberry syrup in their stores. That’s right, we now have the opportunity to serve the most savvy, health conscious buyers because our brand, process, and product has made the cut. Here’s an excerpt of Whole Foods Quality Standards for Supplements: Supplements That Meet a Higher Standard.

 

We devote time and expertise to research the ingredients that go into the vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutritional powders on our shelves. To decide whether an ingredient is acceptable or not, we start by looking at regulatory information and researching findings from reputable authorities like the American Botanical Council and American Herbal Products Association . We also ask the questions: “What is it? What’s its purpose? How is it manufactured? Does it have a long history of use? Does it connect back to Whole Foods Market Core Values ?” Those answers make all the difference. We seek out and have long-standing relationships with trusted brands — many of whom are pioneers in the supplements industry.

If you want to be confident in knowing your local supply of elderberry syrup is safe, our products have the highest level of quality that anyone can access. You can be confident in Andi Lynn's. Your wellness is our business. 

 

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