May 1, 2015
Despite the oft-cited need for a third-party label with the trust and brand recognition of a Good Housekeeping of Approval, we’re still left with an alphabet soup of certifications and seals known primarily to industry insiders.
Still, any certification is better than none, and the four certifiers listed below go way beyond the bare minimum. NSF has expanded into China and India; USP literally set the standards for ingredient strength, quality, and purity and is still the gold standard there; and the Banned Substances Control Group grew out of Olympic anti-doping efforts and helps to drive worldwide understanding of—and testing for—products adulterated with banned substances.
Of the four, Underwriters Laboratories probably has the most recognition with consumers, but it also has the shortest history in supplements. UL’s ClearView program launched just this spring, but it has the benefit of having been developed in conjunction with the Natural Products Association.
The chart below dives into the standards, processes, and expenses behind the various seals.
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