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Setting the Gold Standard - The Pillars of the Informed Sport Programme

Setting the Gold Standard - The Pillars of the Informed Sport Programme

Our research has shown that up to 1 in 10 supplements sold on the market are contaminated with some form of stimulant or steroid prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Although the contamination may be present at a very low concentration, the levels may be sufficient to generate a positive drug test in elite sport – in other words, the athletes urine sample may show evidence of taking steroids or banned stimulants.

The Informed Sport program was born out of the need to offer safer and trusted supplement options to athletes, the military and consumers.  Developed in 2008 with the support of UK Anti-Doping, Informed Sport is a global banned substance testing programme designed for the sports supplement industry. While there are several pillars of the programme, three key aspects include testing every batch of a product, an extensive manufacturing assessment and accredited testing methods. This extensive certification process provides an extra level of protection to elite athletes under Article of the World Anti-Doping Code

Article - World Anti-Doping Code
Informed Sport - World Anti Doping Code - 2
Informed Sport - World Anti Doping Code - 3

Every Batch Tested Individually

The unique cornerstone of the Informed Sport programme is that every single batch of a product is tested prior to it being released to market. This includes individually testing each flavour and variant for each product certified. In addition to every batch testing, Informed Sport requires additional blind sample testing throughout the year to ensure the products sent in for testing are the same batches sold at retail.

It is critical that each individual batch be tested to minimise risk. Informed Sport does not perform composite testing, a practice where multiple batches can be combined into one sample and then tested. Such a process introduces an unnecessary risk since the possibility exists that a contaminated batch may not be detected due to dilution with other samples from clean production batches. 

Bulk testing is also a common practice, where one large batch of product is produced, tested and certified before it has been packaged. Manufacturers will then package portions of the bulk batches on different dates, depending on inventory requirements. In such cases, opened bulk material may be processed on separate packaging lines on different dates, creating an opportunity for cross-contamination after the bulk batch was tested and certified.

Informed Sport does not engage in composite or bulk testing for certified products due to the unnecessary risks to the programme and athletes. Only finished products in their final packaging are analysed. Once certified, a sample is kept in secure storage in case there is a need for future testing. 

Manufacturing Assessment 

Informed Sport performs an extensive assessment prior to awarding a product with certification. By way of the manufacturing assessment questionnaire, a brand and manufacturer must provide documents to allow a detailed audit of every ingredient in the facility, formulation and manufacturing cleaning procedures in order to meet the requirements for certification and examine potential contamination risks.

It is a common mistake to believe that GMP certification adequately addresses the risks of banned substances entering the manufacturing process of a supplement. Evidence of contamination in GMP facilities is not uncommon because the handling of steroids, stimulants, SARMS and other substances banned by WADA is permitted. Informed Sport requires manufacturers producing certified products to go beyond GMP to minimise risk.

Additionally, a raw material inventory list must be provided which details how raw materials are handled and stored within a manufacturing facility. This allows Informed Sport’s team of experienced assessors to thoroughly check for any compounds banned or deemed high-risk for cross-contamination. Should any corrective actions be recommended, a product will not be awarded certification until the actions are completed and approved. 

Informed Sport Certification Process
IS Certification Process


ISO 17025 Accreditation 

All sports supplements certified by Informed Sport are analysed using ISO/IEC17025 accredited methods. Levels of detection range from 10-100ng/g depending on the compound and method capability. Informed Sport requires that products must be tested and reported below established thresholds based on decades of expertise and intelligence sharing with the anti-doping community. If testing identifies the presence of prohibited substances, the product will fail the screen and the product can not be sold.

The Informed Sport supplement screening process is backed by LGC and over 58 years of anti-doping experience. Currently, over 22,000 samples are tested annually for 250+ substances banned in sport. These substances include the drugs of abuse, anabolic agents, stimulants, beta-2-agonists, masking agents, diuretics and new and emerging threats such as SARM's, vaptans and PPAR's, etc. 

WADA testing for urine/blood is carried out to ISO/IEC 17025 standards. ISO/IEC 17025 is an international laboratory and testing standard. Any tests that are accredited to this standard have been developed and validated in line with international requirements and are independently assessed/evaluated objectively by third-party industry experts. 

The Pillars of Informed Sport


What Should an Athlete Expect?

Informed Sport provides protection to athletes taking sports supplements. Not only is every batch tested prior to being sold, but all batch numbers are listed on the Informed Sport mobile app and website, allowing athletes to do their due diligence before using a product. Athletes can easily cross-reference product batch numbers to perform their due diligence and confirm their supplements have been tested by the Informed Sport programme. For more information on the importance of banned substance testing and the Informed Sport programme, download our free “What Should an Athlete Expect” informational flyer. 

Informed Sport - What Should An Athlete Expect - Banned Substance Testing


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