Athletic Banned Substances and Dietary Supplements: What Industry is Doing

NSF International: The third-party testing firm announced its Athletic Banned Substances Certification Program (also known as the Certified for Sport program), as well as a partnership with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, in March 2006.


The Certified for Sport program, focused on sports supplement manufacturing and sourcing process, is applicable to all sports. It is designed to protect against adulteration of products, verify label claims with product contents and identify inappropriate substances in the finished product. The partnership with MLB and MLBPA allows the clubs to sell NSFcertifi ed supplements to players. Currently, EAS, Novartis, Infinity2 Health Sciences and Red Bull have products Certified for Sport. Red Bull was the first to be certified unter the program; Novartis is the most recent. Additionally, contract manufacturers such as Century Foods have facilities certified under NSF’s GMP for Sport program. NSF partnered with the National Football League and NFL Player’s Association in 2004 to launch the NFL/NFLPA Supplement Certification Program EAS is still the only brand certified under this three-year-old program.

USANA Health Sciences: Multi-level marketing firm USANA Health Sciences launched its “Athlete Guarantee Program” in 2006. “To date, no nutritional supplement company has stepped forward to assume their portion of the liability that a banned substance contamination would create,” USANA states on its Web site. “USANA is the first and only to offer an ironclad solution,” the firm says. Under the program, participants sign an agreement under which USANA will pay a player double his or her prize money from the past year, up to $1 million, "should the player test positive for a substance prohibited by WADA due to her use of USANA ptoducts." The company, which bears the tagline “Nutritionals You Can Trust,” also has a Sports Advisory Board, recently became certified under the Informed-Choice program and is the “official health supplement supplier” to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, along with other initiatives specific to sports and athletics.

Natural Products Association: NPA recently expanded its TruLabel program to include testing for steroidal and stimulant contaminants. Under the program, products are randomly selected from store shelves and sent to independent laboratories for purity tests. The trade group announced March 9, 2007 none of the eight products tested contained tested-for contaminants or their metabolites. Testing covered substances such as 19-norandrostenediol, dehyproepiandrosterone (DHEA), caffeine and ephedra alkaloids.

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