The Proper Protocol for Utilizing EO Analysis Reports 8 years ago

Because of the recent findings of yet another company using GC/MS reports improperly I wanted to create this note to make people more aware of how things should work when it comes to having oils analyzed and presenting reports to your customers. I realize there are a lot of new companies just getting into selling essential oils and that they may not even realize that they may be doing some things incorrectly when it comes to utilizing analytical reports.

First and foremost it needs to be stated that a GC/MS report should NEVER be modified in any way without the written permission of the laboratory who issued the report. Typically if any changes are necessary one would contact the lab and just have them make the changes directly.

Secondly, people should understand that a GC/MS report, whether produced by EOU or by another independent lab or even by a supplier of essential oils, is only good for the SPECIFIC LOT NUMBER that is stated on the report. No one should EVER use a report for a previously purchased lot# and assume it's good for the new lot# you purchase of that same oil type, even if you are purchasing from the same company again. I have seen many times where a company will have an analysis done on a specific lot number and then simply paste a new lot number on the same report once they get their new lot in stock. This is completely unacceptable and so if you are a customer and you see the exact same set of percentages for the components in the oil on two different reports with different lot numbers then you know that something is fishy.

Lastly, its very important for anyone selling essential oils to know that if you have an analysis done on a pre-ship sample for the purposes of making buying decisions, then you CANNOT use that report on the pre-ship sample to represent the actual bulk lot that is purchased and received in, even if your supplier says it's the same lot. If you want to forgo having your actual received lot analyzed because you trust your supplier to send the same thing they sampled you then that is fine, but you CANNOT use that pre-ship sample report to represent the oil that you sell to your customers because you did not have the actual bulk lot analyzed once it came in your door. This is very important because it frequently happens that a supplier sends one lot as a pre-ship sample but the actual oil that is shipped in bulk to fill the order does not match the pre-ship sample. I know it sounds crazy but this happens all the time.

So the overall typical scenario should look something like this: Company A sells essential oils online in 15 ml bottles and buys from various bulk and wholesale suppliers. Company A is getting low on lavender oil and sends out sample requests to its various suppliers and may choose to have all the samples analyzed in order to make a buying decision because they are looking for a specific profile. Alternatively, they may just opt to select which sample they liked the best from an odor standpoint and then choose to only analyze that pre-ship sample to confirm purity, hoping for a good result on this sample and saving them the trouble of having to analyze the rest of the samples. For simplicity we will choose the latter scenario and Company A sends off the best smelling lavender oil pre-ship sample with lot# 123ABC from Supplier X to be analyzed by an independent testing lab. The lab results look good so Company A issues a purchase order for 25 kg of lavender lot# 123ABC. When the 25 kg of oil arrives at Company A, they then assign their own lot number to the lavender oil and might call it something like 123ABC-SX25 (just an example, every company has their own system for assigning lot numbers). It doesn’t matter what lot number they assign as long as the number is UNIQUE. Now Comany A sends off a sample of their receied lot 123ABC-SX25 to be analyzed by the independent lab to make sure the lavender oil they received actually matches what they were promised in terms of the pre-ship sample. At this point three things could potentially happen:

1. The analysis of the received bulk lot 123ABC-SX25 matches the pre-ship sample within the error of the GC/MS instrument (the percentages on two different runs will never exactly match, even when done on the exact same sample, but the numbers should be really close).

2. The analysis report of the bulk received lot 123ABC-SX25 comes back different than the preship sample but Company A really needs the oil and they are happy with the analysis and odor of the oil, even though it has a little bit different profile than the pre-ship sample. They then use ONLY the analysis of the received lot to represent the oil to their customers.

3. The analysis report of the bulk received lot 123ABC-SX25 comes back different than the preship and Company A is not happy about the differences and so they send the oil back to the supplier, citing the differences between the analysis of the preship sample compared to the analysis of what they actually received.

Now again, Company A could have received in the 25 kg of lot 123ABC-SX25 and just based on odor alone accepted that the oil is the same as the preship sample and in order to save money they elect not to have the bulk lot analyzed. That is perfectly fine but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should Company A use the analysis report they had done on the preship sample to represent the 25kg that was received in, that would be HIGHLY UNETHICAL, regardless of how much they trust their supplier. This would be just as unethical as using a report for a perviously purchased lot to represent an entirely different new lot of oil.

I hope this explanation gives people a better feel for how things work when done properly and maybe gives them a better appreciation for the difficulties faced in the industry and for companies who take the time and spend the money to run their businesses in an ethical manner.

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