CPTG Quality Testing Essential Oils

CPTG Quality Testing in the labCPTG Quality Testing of doTERRA’s essential oils extends from growers and harvesters to essential oil chemists. doTERRA’s global network of essential oil providers carefully monitor the quality of each batch of essential oil to ensure it meets Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) standards.

doTERRA works with farmers and distillers in over 40 countries to provide essential oils to customers around the world. doTERRA values the wealth of expertise local growers and producers have when it comes to the plants that provide essential oils.

But what exactly is CPTG protocol?

The CPTG Protocol

The CPTG quality protocol requires the use of independent laboratories for standardization and testing. There are five different analytical protocols to ensure each batch of essential oil meets doTERRA’s CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality standard.

If a batch of oil passes all five tests, the oil is deemed both pure (extracts contain only the volatile aromatic compounds of a plant), and potent (extracts have consistent chemical composition from batch to batch).

The CPTG testing begins immediately after distillation with each oil being reviewed for its chemical composition. A second round of testing is carried out at the doTERRA production facility to ensure that what was distilled and tested is the same essential oil as was received. A third review of the chemistry of the oil is conducted in a three-phase procedure as the oils are packaged into the bottles sold to consumers.

The CPTG Quality Testing Steps

It is important to note that the CPTG protocol is not administered by government or industry regulatory agencies and does not imply regulatory approval of dōTERRA products. CPTG quality testing is protocol created by doTERRA to confirm that the essential oil is free of contaminants and unexpected alterations during production. The five tests in the CPTG quality testing process are:

Gas Chromatography. After the aromatic compounds (essential oils) are carefully distilled from plant material, samples are tested for their chemical composition using gas chromatography. In this test, the volatile essential oil compounds are vaporized and passed through a long column called a gas chromatograph. Each individual compound travels or “elutes” through the column at a different rate and is measured as it exits the column during the testing period. Using gas chromatography, quality control engineers can determine which compounds are present in a test sample and, as importantly, at what levels.

Mass Spectrometry. The composition of the essential oil samples is then tested using mass spectrometry. In this test, the samples are vaporized and then ionized, and each individual compound in a sample is measured by weight. Mass spectrometry provides additional insight to the purity of an essential oil by revealing the presence of non-aromatic compounds, such as heavy metals or other pollutants, which are too heavy to elute in the gas chromatography testing. The combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry is sometimes referred to as a GC/MS test.

FTIR Scan (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy). After the GC/MS testing, the essential oil samples are transported to a manufacturing facility for filling. Before being released into the facility, the essential oil “batch” is held in quarantine for additional quality tests are performed. The next test is an FTIR Scan which, similar to GC/MS testing, analyzes the material composition of the sample. In an FTIR Scan, a light is shown at the material sample. The amount of light absorbed by the chemical constituents of the sample is measured. Results are then compared against a historical database to ensure the oil adheres to established composition standards.

Microbial Testing. Before a batch of essential oils can be released from quarantine to manufacturing, a sample is tested for the presence of bio-hazards such as bacteria, fungus, and mold. In microbial testing, samples are drawn from each batch of essential oils and applied to growing mediums in dishes or “plates.” After an incubation period, each plate is analyzed for the growth of any microbes. This test is performed on all incoming material to the manufacturing facility. It is also performed on the finished product to ensure no harmful organisms have been introduced to the product during the filling and labeling process. The microbial test also helps ensure shelf-life stability.

Organoleptic Testing. Organoleptic testing brings a human touch to each step of the CPTG quality control process. Organoleptics (involving the sense organs) include those attributes of essential oil that can be tested with taste, sight, touch, and smell. This test ensures the essential oil not only has an expected aroma but looks, tastes and feels as expected, too. The extraction of doTERRA essential oils is very much an art form that can be enhanced by, but not replaced with, mechanical analytics.

doTERRA Quality Standards

doTERRA’s demanding quality standards and exclusive agreements with growers and those who produce the essential oils mean doTERRA’s quality is unrivaled.

CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a registered trademark of dōTERRA Holdings, LLC representing internal standards of quality assessment and material control. The CPTG testing protocols require the use of independent laboratories for CPTG standardization and quality testing.