When it comes to the nutraceutical industry, it is very difficult to know if the claims being made are proven, accurate and truthful. Consumers generally don’t take the time to research the many companies that provide supplements and products and often find themselves drawn into clever and slick marketing. The most important thing, however, is not in the fancy labeling and smooth advertising. Starting with the best ingredients in a must, that is clear. Diligence is also one of the most crucial elements in providing a product that is high quality and true to its label.
By diligence it is intended to mean the drive to create the best product, to find and use the best raw materials, and to really do the work to be the most ethical and truthful in an industry that is not strictly regulated. It comes down to the individual companies to set and exceed standards that are the norm for the industry. When standing by a product, there are some companies that reflect the claims they make and the quality they espouse. It takes effort, hard work and it takes diligence to create consistency and excellence.
Recently I toured Saw Palmetto Florida, LLC’s processing facilities in Naples, Florida. The seemingly small company continues it’s steady updates and improvements to be amongst the best in the industry. Arriving at the facility, it immediately struck me that the facility was surrounded on all sides by wild growing Saw Palmetto Palms with berries gently dangling from them. Along with the Processing Manager, I went into the first processing building and heard the whoosh of the machines separating the berries from their vine-like twigs. The air moved smoothly through the large corridor and I felt dwarfed by the large equipment. The cleaning process was fun to watch as the berries slid into large vats ready for the next step. We walked outside of the building to the drying area. There were massive new driers to dry the berries immediately after they were picked and brought to the facility. I stood next to the mammoth driers in the warm Florida sunlight and noticed how their metallic exterior glistened in the light. When I climbed the steps to enter one of the driers, I was immediately stuck by the cleanliness and mass of these units. The Processing Manager explained the drying process and how the berries were lifted by centrifugal force and “stirred” as they are dried to perfection inside these massive silo-like units. I felt small inside the driers, so I only imagined the berries swirling en masse.
We proceeded to the grinding area, and I enjoyed how each step of the process had it’s own area and space to work with the large amounts of berries. The most fun part was observing the extraction process. The extraction building was immaculately clean and the extractor made me think of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. For the younger generation or anyone unfamiliar with this story, it was a story of an eccentric man who made chocolate in his huge factory. It was a lovely childhood story, and seeing the intricacy and size of the SPF extraction system reminded me of the endearing story. Except in this case, the extractor was not only using clean energy, but highly productive and efficient. As an herbalist, I enjoy seeing the transformation of an herb, berry or plant into different mediums. The ground powder went into the extractor and the golden pure oil came out. In this one day, I was able to see the berries in their wild environment to their separation of twig and berry, the drying process, grinding and clean extraction into beautiful golden oil. Every step of the process was methodical, done by dedicated workers and, without a doubt, done with diligence.
The evening after being at the plant for the afternoon, I reflected on the amount of work and dedication that goes into finding the very best berries, and every step of the process from berry to oil. While a small company, Saw Palmetto Florida, LLC has a big presence in the Saw Palmetto market. Everything I encountered during my visit at SPF, LLC reflected professionalism, excellence and diligence in providing the best raw material possible. Diligence in the growing nutraceutical market is a big key to taking care of the consumer. Diligence means going the extra mile, it means assuring every step of the process is done to perfection. Diligence means being able to put an ingredient forth that carries the greatest value it’s natural state endows it with. Diligence is striving for excellence and when it comes to Saw Palmetto berries and their powders and oils, Saw Palmetto Florida, LLC leads the way.
Stephanie Schneider LAc, Dipl.OM, CH