How is ascorbic acid made

Natural, synthetic or genetically engineered - this is how vitamins are produced

Made in china

While American, European and Japanese producers predominantly dominated the vitamin market until about 20 years ago, the largest vitamin producers are now located in China, partly also in India. The predominantly non-European production can also lead to delivery bottlenecks. In the wake of the corona pandemic, for example, the Indian Ministry of Trade and Industry restricted the export of ten active pharmaceutical ingredients (including antibiotics and painkillers) and three vitamins (B1, B6 and B12) in early March 2020 in order to ensure the supply of its own population. This restriction has now been lifted. Although India is an important supplier for Europe and other regions of the world, it itself sources 70% of the active ingredients it processes from China.

Vitamin C, for example, is almost exclusively produced in China. The largest European manufacturers are pharmaceutical companies such as DSM (including vitamin C and E production in China), BASF and Lonza, but they have outsourced parts of their production facilities to China or are planning to do so. The former French manufacturer Adisseo is now part of Chem China. There are many dietary supplements that advertise "made in Germany", but that does not mean that the individual ingredients, i.e. the pure vitamins, were not made in China or elsewhere in the world.

In the meantime, however, thanks to a new law (Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775), it must be stated for all food supplements produced since April 1, 2020 where the so-called primary ingredients, i.e. the most important ingredients, come from if a product is marketed with a reference to its geographical origin becomes. It looks like this, for example:


How sustainable the production is can only be speculated about. In some cases, however, there are reports of enormous environmental damage. According to a 2016 report in the ZEIT, the environmental regulations in Europe have become too expensive, which is why the company was relocated to China. The FAZ reported in 2018 that, in the meantime, the environmental requirements for vitamin production have also been increased in China in order to cope with the horrific air pollution in Shijazhuang.