Things have been busy around the Herbs for Horses warehouse since the latest shipment of herbs arrived from Europe.
From sourcing to sampling and food safety certification, securing quality ingredients is a top priority at Herbs for Horses. “We get all our herbs from Europe,” explains owner and founder Ralph Robinson. “Because the herbal industry is larger and more organized there, they have a better assortment of products and the quality is much better.†We don’t buy anything that’s not human grade and ISO Food-Safety Certified.”
Herbal medicine has maintained a stronger foothold in Europe. Where as North America veered strongly toward the way of “big pharma” following the Second World War, recognition of the value of herbs was not lost in Europe to the same degree, observes Robinson. In Germany, where herbal medicine has once again become part of the curriculum at medical schools, it is estimated that 70-80 per cent of physicians regularly prescribe plant medications. The herbal industry in most European countries is stringently regulated with claims requiring scientific proof.
“Buying from Europe we find we get better selection, better quality and a higher standard. And they are all ISO approved (the highest level of global food safety certification), which is something we’ve also just achieved.”
Once the herbs arrive they are sampled and tested. “We are screening for pesticide residues, bacteria and fungal toxins,” says Robinson. The company is also able to provide this service to its customers.
“We sample each herb that we buy — each sample yields three tests.” Such quality control measures are part of the HACCP certification protocols that Herbs for Horses have upheld (on a voluntary basis) since 2004. It’s an added expense for the company, and accounts for many hours of extra work, but for Robinson its all part of what goes into selling an honest product.