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|Articles - July 2011|
|Wednesday, June 22, 2011|
Kirkman Group president David Humphrey says he prides himself on the purity of the food supplements his company makes in Lake Oswego and sells globally. So it bothered him profoundly to have to recall several products in December 2009 after learning they were contaminated with antimony, a toxic chemical.
“We can’t be preaching on being a great company, watching out for stuff, and having a heavy metal in one of our products that might harm children,” says Humphrey. So Kirkman spent about a million dollars on dealing with the recall, then spent another $2 million on a long-term solution: a lab across the street from headquarters with mass spectrometry machines to identify and analyze potential contaminants in ingredients used to make the enzymes, probiotics and vitamin pills that Kirkman sells.
Questionable ingredients in over-the-counter “nutraceuticals” have become a vexing problem in a loosely regulated $26 billion industry. Humphrey, who does not shy from hyperbole, says contaminants in supplements have resulted in “hundreds if not thousands of deaths.” Most of the ingredients for these products come from overseas, where oversight is lax or nonexistent, and when they enter the United States they are not tested.
Humphrey says Kirkman’s new testing protocol goes far beyond what the Food and Drug Administration requires. He argues that testing ingredients carefully could improve standards in the industry, at a minimal cost. “For 50 cents a jar, you could test everything,” he says. “If the suppliers know we won’t buy contaminated product, they won’t ship it.”
Kirkman specializes in supplements for people with dietary restrictions and environmental sensitivities. The company has a history of selling to families with autistic children, although its catalog contains an oft-repeated disclaimer that products are “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
Humphrey took over the family business from his father 10 years ago, growing revenues to over $12 million and jobs from five to 100. About 20 employees work in the new testing lab. Humphrey says the new lab represents “a challenge to other companies in this business to do the same thing.”
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Floor plans embrace the great wide open.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON
Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
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More than 250 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.
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An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.
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One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.
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Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.
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BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.
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