About INFORMED-CHOICE

 

INFORMED-CHOICE

INFORMED-CHOICE is a certification program for sports supplements, ingredients and manufacturing facilities, which assures athletes that products carrying the INFORMED-CHOICE mark have been regularly tested for substances considered prohibited in sport. In addition, INFORMED-CHOICE also ensures that products have been manufactured to high quality standards. Responsible supplement companies have made INFORMED-CHOICE part of their existing quality assurance systems to ensure their products are safer for athletes to use.

Research has shown that some supplement products have been found to be contaminated with low levels of substances that are prohibited by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and other sporting bodies. The INFORMED-CHOICE program aims to work closely with supplement manufacturers and suppliers by reviewing the quality systems they have in place at the manufacturing facility and by providing high quality analytical testing for products/ ingredients to minimize the incidence of banned contaminants finding their way into sport. It also aims to provide athletes with an effective risk management service so that they can choose products that have undergone additional quality control testing as required in elite sport.

The INFORMED-CHOICE certification program was established in 2007 by one of the world's leading sports doping control laboratories, LGC (formerly HFL Sport Science). Although LGC has been testing supplements since 2002, it became clear that there was a need for a comprehensive certification program which not only tested products for banned substances, but that also ensured that products were manufactured in accordance with good manufacturing practices.

HFL Testing Photo

Details about Informed Choice and Our Testing Process

INFORMED-CHOICE certification is a voluntary program for reputable supplement companies who wish register some, or all, of their products and carry the INFORMED-CHOICE mark on those products. Athletes who see the INFORMED-CHOICE logo on a product can be assured it has undergone rigorous checks and testing to ensure that it is not contaminated with banned substances and is safer to use.

Although there is no such thing as a '100% guarantee' that tested supplements are free of all banned substances (see FAQ about 100% guarantees), INFORMED-CHOICE provides athletes with an effective risk management service, allowing them to make informed choices about the products they choose to use. LGC's analysis of over 35,000 supplement/ ingredient samples over the past 10 years has shown that the incidence of contamination amongst high quality products that are regularly tested for banned substances are significantly lower (better than 1 in 5000) compared to products that do not undergo any banned substance testing, which can be as high as a 1 in 4 risk.

The INFORMED-CHOICE registration process requires both a manufacturing quality system audit and pre-registration product testing. A thorough review of quality assurance systems, raw materials and supply chain is carried out to ensure there is little risk of contamination in the finished product. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Product evaluation including formulation, label claims, nutritional labeling, contaminant testing, etc
  2. Raw material evaluation at each production site
  3. Review of accreditations held by the manufacturing/ packing facility (such as Good Manufacturing Practice, etc)
  4. Quality system and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) review for raw material storage and handling, review of SOPs for production and packaging, equipment cleaning, staff training, product traceability, etc
  5. Raw Material supplier assessment
  6. Finished Goods storage and distribution evaluation

Pre-Registration product testing is also required prior to acceptance onto the INFORMED-CHOICE program. This includes testing of 5 samples from different production runs to establish a history of testing.

Only after the audit is satisfactory and the product testing has shown no contamination issues can the product be registered into the program and carry the INFORMED-CHOICE mark.

Once the product is registered, regular batch testing and blind sample testing is carried out to ensure the products in the market are safer for athletes to use. All tested batches of product are listed on this website. They can be found on the Registered Products page or by simply typing in the name of the supplement in the search bar marked "Find your supplement:".

For more detail on registration with INFORMED-CHOICE click here.

About LGC

LGC is a world-renowned sports doping control and research laboratory, with over 50 years of expertise in anti-doping in sport. LGC has published over 300 scientific papers on methods for detection of trace levels of substances that are prohibited in sport and has over 450 man-years of research into doping control.

LGC has been testing supplements and ingredients on behalf of reputable manufacturers and suppliers for over 10 years. It has tested over 35,000 samples during this time, and has also carried out a number of research studies to explore the prevalence of contamination with prohibited substances in products and ingredients. LGC's research into supplements and contamination also includes several administration studies to investigate the levels of prohibited substances that could cause an athlete to fail a doping test. These have been published in peer reviewed scientific journals. Please use the Contact area for more information on LGC's research into supplements and contamination.

LGC's testing capability for supplements/ingredients includes the analysis of over 146 substances that are considered prohibited in sport and substances that pose a threat in respect of product contamination. These substances include drugs of abuse, anabolic agents, stimulants, beta-2-agonists, masking agents, etc.

Testing methods used for a range of substances from these categories have been validated and accredited to the ISO 17025 standard in supplements/ingredients, in each of the relevant matrices: powders, bars, liquids, capsules, tablets, etc., with defined method capabilities/reporting limits. LGC has held this accreditation since 2003, granted by UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service).

For more details, go to Testing Specification

 
 
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