NSF International, an independent public health organization that tests and certifies dietary supplements to protect against adverse health effects, fully supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement that reemphasizes and reinvigorates the FDA’s legal authority to aggressively eliminate adulterated dietary supplements in the marketplace. In a letter to manufacturers of dietary supplements, the FDA asserted that the problem of “spiked” supplements has grown significantly in recent years, and now constitutes “a significant public health problem.” The FDA letter reminds companies of their legal obligations and responsibility to prevent tainted products from reaching the US market and that the companies should take appropriate steps to insure that their products do not contain adulterating substances that can cause serious adverse health consequences.
NSF applauds the FDA's recommendation that dietary supplement manufactures, importers, distributors and retailers understand and investigate their full supply chain and review their manufacturing and quality assurance activities to insure the lawfulness, quality and safety of their products and, as required by existing federal regulation, that dietary supplement components conform to established product specifications and that they maintain documentation of the qualification of a supplier for the purpose of relying on a supplier’s certificate of analysis.
As the developer of the U.S. national standard for dietary supplements and provider of accredited third-party testing and certification of dietary supplements, NSF has in-depth knowledge of the supplement manufacturing and retailing industries and possesses a strong reputation for protection of public health. This is why professional sports organizations asked NSF to develop the NSF Certified for Sport® program to reduce the risk that a dietary or sports supplement contains banned or disqualifying performance enhancing substances. The NSF Certified for Sport® program is recognized by the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the PGA, among other major sports organizations, and demonstrates that spiked or adulterated products in the marketplace can be minimized with the help of third-party certification labels that consumers can trust when purchasing supplements.
In addition, market sampling and independent testing of “suspect” products by NSF International researchers confirms the FDA’s findings that illegal supplements spiked with steroids, erectile dysfunction drugs and stimulants are very readily available from both retail stores and internet merchants. That is one of the reasons that major league sports organizations only allow NSF Certified for Sport® supplements and nutritional products into their locker rooms.
NSF International applauds FDA’s announcement today and stands ready to assist in reducing this public health concern.
About NSF International’s Dietary Supplement Testing and Certification Programs: NSF International developed the American National Standard for Dietary Supplements (NSF/ANSI Standard 173). The standard, which is the only U.S. national standard for dietary supplements, was developed with participation of a balanced stakeholder group, including FDA, NIH, other federal agencies, state regulatory agencies, manufacturers, product retailers, industry trade associations and consumer groups. Working in concert with sports organizations, anti-doping agencies and supplement manufacturers for ten years, NSF evaluates dietary/nutritional supplements and functional ingredients to ensure they meet the requirements of the NSF/ANSI 173 standard.
As required by the standard, the NSF Dietary Supplement Certification Program includes: a label claim review to verify what’s on the label is in the bottle, toxicology review to verify product formulation and marketing claims, a formulation review to identify and quantify dietary ingredients declared on product label, and a contaminant review, which involves testing to ensure there are no ingredients present that have not been declared on the label nor are there unacceptable levels of contaminants such as heavy metals in the product. NSF also conducts a manufacturing facility audit to ensure the manufacturer adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).
NSF’s certified for Sport® Program builds on the NSF Dietary Supplement Certification Program by additionally screening for banned substances to ensure the product is free of prohibited substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), NSF Annex A, NFL, MLB and NCAA prohibited substance lists. The NSF Certified for Sport® program is used by the NFL, MLB, LPGA, PGA and Canadian Center for Ethics in Sports (CCES) to help ensure the supplements and sports nutrition products their athletes use are free of prohibited/banned substances.
About NSF International: NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization, certifies products and writes standards for food, water and consumer goods to minimize adverse health effects (www.nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide and operates in more than 120 countries. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.
Additional NSF services include safety audits for the food and water industries, NSF Education and Training programs, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International), sustainable standards development and product certification through NSF Sustainability, and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR).