CPTG is an acronym for Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.
The label is applied to doTERRA products, particularly essential oils, as a way to distinguish them as products that have been tested for purity and quality.
Throughout the Internet you can easily find stories and social media posts stating CPTG is nothing more than a marketing scheme and worth nothing to a buyer and consumer.
Since doTERRA uses this distinction on their oils and products and I use these in my home and on my family, I wanted to do my own research into this mysterious CPTG label.
Regulation of Oils
The Food & Drug Administration does not regulate natural and homeopathic products such as essentials oils. It is necessary for products falling into this category to clearly state the statements they make about their products have not been tested or certified by the FDA. For that reason, it is also required that distributors of essentials oils curate their messages as to not appear to be diagnosing or curing illnesses or diseases.
Personally, given the horrific food system we live with in the United States that is overseen by the FDA this is a big blessing.
Many things the FDA has deemed “safe” for consumption has resulted in our food system being laden with pesticides, chemical dyes and preservatives that are harmful to our health. The more I can distance my family from that the better and for that reason alone, I love that the FDA is not involved in the essential oil oversight and hope they never do become part of it.
The bad part about not having the FDA involved in essential oils is that anyone can say their product is “pure” or “quality” and these labels go unchecked. It truly is a buyer-beware market when it comes to essential oils so you have to be a savvy shopper and do your homework.
Since there is not a governing body over essential oils, doTERRA performs quality testing on all their oils. Quality, purity and safety are important when using oils and doTERRA realizes the need to have standards in place to ensure thresholds for quality and purity are met consistently.
There are current 5 testing standards doTERRA uses on all their oils.
Test 1: Gas Chromatography
Essential oil samples are tested for chemical composition using gas chromatography. Volatile essential oil compounds are vaporized and passed through a gas chromatograph. Individual compounds travel or “elute” through the chromatograph at a different rate and are measured as they exit. Quality control engineers thereby determine which compounds are present and at what levels.
Test 2: Mass Spectrometry
With mass spectrometry, essential oil samples are vaporized, ionized and each individual compound is measured by weight. This reveals the presence of any non-aromatic compounds, such as heavy metals or other pollutants (which are too heavy to elute through a gas chromatograph). The first two tests are sometimes referred to as a GC/MS test.
Test 3: FTIR Scan (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy)
Before being released into a manufacturing facility, an essential oil “batch” is held in quarantine for additional tests. Included is an FTIR Scan which also analyses material composition. A light is shown at the material sample and the amount of light absorbed by the chemical constituents is measured. Results are compared against a historical database to ensure adherence to composition standards.
Test 4: Microbial Testing
While quarantined, an essential oil must be tested for the presence of bio-hazards such as bacteria, fungus, and mold. In microbial testing, samples are drawn and applied to growing mediums in dishes or “plates.” After incubation, plates are analyzed for growth of microbes. This test is also again performed on the finished product to ensure no harmful organisms have been introduced to the product during the filling and labeling process, and to ensure shelf-life stability.
Test 5: Organoleptic Testing
Organoleptic testing brings human touch to the CPTG quality control process via those attributes of an essential oil that can be tested with taste, sight, touch, and smell. From growers and harvesters to essential oil chemists; from manufacturing engineers to essential oil practitioners; dōTERRA’s global network of essential oil providers carefully monitors the quality of each essential oil. The extraction of essential oils is very much an art form enhanced by wisdom and experience and an indispensable part of the CPTG quality control standard. In any of the above tests, there is no manipulation by dōTERRA. Each extract either passes or fails — a significant differentiator when compared with other essential oil products. Another unique differentiator is dōTERRA’s scientific expertise in determining how the oil can most effectively be used with people. dōTERRA’s scientific experts have a long history of what CPTG essential oils should look like in order to be certifiably aligned with the “fingerprint” of historical purity. Through its Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® process, dōTERRA guarantees customers the quality, purity and safety of each oil, every bottle, every time.
What All That REALLY Means
First, that is a lot of testing and money spent on testing for quality and purity if it were all just for a marketing scam. The CPTG label is a standard of quality doTERRA has set for their products. They are quality levels where there would otherwise not be.
The fact doTERRA has set standards, adheres to them and is transparent about their practices and the results is done because they believe safety trumps profit.
The amount of companies that are willing to hold their own bar that high without government intervention is commendable. Maybe if more did that we would not have a need for this FDA agency that lets us believe preservatives and chemical dyes are “healthy.”
Interested in more?
The reason I use doTERRA is because of their commitment to quality, purity and safety. I trust them and have not been disappointed.
Their labels are clear and understandable. The information about the doTERRA products is completely transparent so you know exactly what you are getting and where it came from.
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