DISCLAIMER: ALL INFORMATION HAS BEEN SOURCED FROM INFORMEDSPORT.CA
Informed Sport is a global quality assurance programme for sports nutritional supplements. Presence of the Informed Sport quality mark on product packaging demonstrates to athletes and consumers that every batch of a product has been tested for substances prohibited in sport and that the product was made in an environment with quality systems appropriate for the stringent demands of sports nutrition manufacturing.
Nutritional supplement products certified by Informed Sport undergo a rigorous pre-certification and post-certification process, consisting of four stages:
Stage One: Product & Manufacturing Review
Prior to certification, a certification agreement will be issued along with a programme pack, which explains how the programme works and provides guidelines of how the Informed Sport logo may be used once certification is complete. The Member company applying for certification must send in product labels to the Informed Sport marketing team for approval of all logo uses – products may not be retailed bearing the Informed Sport logo until the entire certification process is complete.
A comprehensive picture of the product is built up and reviewed to understand factors such as product branding & integrity, product variants, retail plans, product testing schedules and manufacturing facilities. At this stage, the product ingredients are reviewed in detail by experienced assessors to minimise the risk of banned substances.
A review of the procedures in place at relevant manufacturing facilities is then undertaken via a paper-based assessment. This process is managed by experienced assessors, who provide guidance on how to meet the required standards of the Informed Sport programme and reduce risk within manufacturing processes.
This stage of the certification includes assessment of the following:
- Quality systems and audits
- Staff training in relation to cross-contamination prevention
- Raw materials
- Raw material supplier assessment procedures
- Traceability & recall procedures
Stage Two: Pre-Certification Sample Testing
A minimum of three finished product samples are tested using LGC's ISO 17025 accredited prohibited substances supplement screen. An additional unit of each batch tested is sent in for secure storage at the LGC laboratory. Testing is performed on commercial product ready for retail to consumers. These samples must not show indication for contamination with prohibited substances.
Stage Three: Product Certification, Logo Use and Web Listing
Once stages one and two are complete and any resulting actions have been closed out, the product will be accepted for certification with Informed Sport. An Informed Sport certificate will be issued, after which time the new Member company may use the Informed Sport logo in association with the certified product. The Member company will be provided with the ‘Informed Sport Brand Standards’ which explains how the logo may be used and how best to market the new certification mark. The certified product will be listed on the Informed Sport website along with all tested batches. A link is provided to the Member company’s website or applicable purchase site.
Stage Four: Post-Certification Requirements and Testing
Following certification, EVERY product batch (including all flavour variants) must be submitted by the brand to Informed Sport for testing using LGC’s ISO 17065 accredited prohibited substances screen before the product can be released into the marketplace. An additional unit of each batch will be retained in secure storage for the shelf life of that particular product. In addition, regular blind testing is performed to further ensure the integrity of the product, whereby the Informed Sport Programme Management team purchase the product from retail for testing. The blind testing schedule starts at between one and four blinds per year depending on the number of batches produced per year. This schedule decreases to a minimum of one blind per year as a product testing history is established.
Every batch tested product will be displayed on the Informed Sport web site. In addition to regular product testing, the product and manufacturing facilities are regularly re-reviewed to ensure the requirements of Informed Sport continue to be met.