Goji Berry Update
Where do the Goji Berries come from?
For a number of years we purchased goji berries that the producer claimed were grown in Tibet. Tibet is actually a territory claimed by China, and the goji berries from this supplier actually shipped out of a Chinese port. Over the ensuing years there were several articles written claiming no goji berries are grown and harvested for sale in Tibet. An agent on the ground in China confirmed this to us. Upon doing the research, we switched back to goji berries from China and the province of Ningxia, based on all our research, is the best location for growing goji berries. That is why our Chinese goji berries now come from this location.
Over the years we have become more "high tech." We have not only sold certified organic goji berries, but also made sure they were tested for over 440 different pesticides and herbicides at reputable labs here in the United States. We have always felt, based on the certificates of analysis and laboratory testing, that we carry some of the highest quality goji berries available in America.
How do you know they are not contaminated?
In 2009, a company told us they had tested several brands of certified organic goji berries to confirm the goji berries were pesticide free and found them all to be contaminated. They had been to China many times and audited a number of goji berry growers and their drying plants. They informed us of pesticides used in China that are not used in America and explained that no one was testing for them. Because we had an analysis in hand proving our berries were free of over 200 pesticides and herbicides we felt quite certain our berries were free of all chemicals and decided to test their statement. Without hesitation, we sent a sample to a lab they chose and had them tested.
The results surprised us. We found that of the chemicals tested, one chemical named Acetamprid was found to be too high for the berries to be certified organic. To be fair, the levels were very low and only about 10% of the allowable limit set by the EPA. The allowable level (EPA mandated) on a fruit, or vegetable, is approximately 2.0 parts per million (ppm). This testing detected a level of 0.19 parts per million. Granted, this level is lower than the accepted level by the EPA; however, for a certified organic product the levels must be less than 5% of the allowable EPA amount (in this case 0.1 ppm). Therefore, these goji berries could no longer be sold as organic. It did not matter that they were organically certified, or that many of the other organic goji berries sold in the United States have even higher amounts. What mattered at that point is that we knew our goji berries had trace amounts of a prohibited chemical according to the national organic program, and we value integrity and honesty too highly to continue to sell berries as if we had not done the additional testing.
Because of our experiences in the past we are very careful about the goji berries we purchase. They undergo tests for 440 different herbicides and pesticides which include chemicals used in South America and Asia that most companies in America do not even know about.
What about the Goji Berries currently sold by Wilderness Family Naturals?
Wilderness Family Naturals only provides goji berries to their customers that have not been sprayed with any chemicals and that do not contain residues from neighboring fields or contaminated water used for irrigation. This is based on an independent laboratory analysis that is the most in-depth, sensitive and inclusive of any testing available.