Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pure Hoodia Gordonii and the Importance of the CITES Certificate

By Reagan Miers

If you are thinking about taking hoodia diet pills to help you with your weight loss, you probably know that CITES certificates differentiate pure hoodia gordonii from inferior hoodia products. Yet, I wonder how many people truly understand what the CITES certificate really is and why it's so important. As a consumer I want you to know what the certificate is and what it means within the hoodia market.

The hoodia gordonii plant is a protected species due to its limited supply and high demand. It is only found in South Africa and until recent years, was only grown wild. Due to the increasing popularity for hoodia gordonii, farming began in an attempt to keep up with skyrocketing demand. In order to protect the hoodia plant and the industry as a whole, including the San people who have a vested interest in their native crop, the South African government implemented controls, licenses, and regulations for the harvesting and exportation of hoodia gordonii.

One of the basic regulations put in place for the endangered hoodia gordonii is the implementation of the CITES certificate. CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This is basically an agreement between governments that ensures that international trade of the plant doesn't threaten its survival. There are other regulations and documents that are required, too, but for the sake of this article I am only going to discuss the CITES certificate.

In order for a company to legally export hoodia gordonii from South Africa, an export permit from CITES must be obtained. Every shipment exported from South Africa must be accompanied by a CITES permit. These permits expire in six months, but the expiration period only pertains to the actual shipment of hoodia gordonii out of South Africa. In other words, a supplier has six months from the time they are issued a CITES permit to actually ship the hoodia gordonii out of South Africa. If they don't and the shipment of hoodia sits in the port, the supplier must reapply for a new permit.

There has been a lot of confusion about the dates on CITES permits. Some people are made to believe that the dates on these permits must be "current" or the company involved in the selling of hoodia gordonii is shady or lying. A CITES certificate that is outdated or old is just that - which means the six month window of exportation has expired.

When someone exports hoodia gordonii from South Africa, the original CITES permit stays with the inventory until it is gone. If a supplier exports thousands of kilograms of hoodia on one permit, they may not sell out of it for months and months. Yes, the date on the CITES permit will be expired, but the permit itself is still valid and proves the hoodia gordonii is legal and authentic. Just because a CITES permit may have expired doesn't mean the plant that is being used is a fake, or that shady practices are involved in the business.

Something that is important for you to know is a CITES certificate may have a different company's name on it than the company you are purchasing the hoodia products from. This means you may go to the XYZ Company to purchase hoodia supplements and upon viewing their CITES certificate you see the supplier's name is ABC Company. The names on the CITES permits may not always match up.

Supplement companies purchase their hoodia gordonii from suppliers. Suppliers are the ones that are listed on the CITES permits. These are the companies that actually go in and export the hoodia out of South Africa. There are only a limited number of suppliers who can obtain CITES permits. In the above example, the ABC Company is the supplier of the hoodia gordonii to the XYZ Company.

It's important that you understand that just because a website display a CITES certificate isn't a guarantee that the company is packaging pure hoodia gordonii into their products. As you probably know, there are no regulations on supplements, so companies can make claims about their products, even if they may not be true.

That is not always true. Keep in mind that the only thing a CITES permit proves is that a supplier was given the right to export "X amount" of hoodia gordonii from South Africa. Once the supply is exported, the supplier and any company purchasing hoodia from the supplier can do what they want with the hoodia gordonii. A company may claim they are selling a hoodia diet pill that contains 500mg of authentic hoodia gordonii, and while they may have a CITES certificate for the supply they purchased, they may not use a full 500mg in each capsule! They may only use 250mg or 150mg or whatever may be the case.

Now that you have a better understanding of what the CITES certificate is and what its role is, you know why looking for one is important when trying to find authentic hoodia gordonii diet pills and products.

About the Author:

No comments: