Mar 18, 2020
Banned Substance Certification for supplements is vital for athletes
Oliver Catlin, contributing writer

{Sponsored} The detrimental effects of careless supplement use can be severe. Careers, scholarships and reputation are on the line if an athlete takes a contaminated dietary supplement and tests positive on a drug test.

Ingesting a minute amount of a prohibited substance as small as a grain of salt can result in a positive test. Contamination may infiltrate any supplement including protein powders, drink mixes, vitamins or other products that appear free of risk. These realities make banned substance certification vital for athletes and competitors who use supplements.

Third-party supplement certification for banned substances offers protection against contamination by conducting ongoing testing for prohibited substances in sport and allowing certification seals to be used on products that pass the test. The certification seal allows brands to represent the premium quality of products.

» Related: Sorting out supplements: a clear understanding of supplementation

Certification seals are only as strong as the science behind them. Look for the following key elements to ensure a certification program meets the highest standards and provides the protection athletes deserve:

  • ISO 17025 accreditation for testing laboratories should be the foundation of any certification program.
  • The scope of accreditation should include testing for prohibited substances in nutritional supplements.
  • Certified lot numbers must be clearly identified in databases with frequency of testing outlined.
  • Verify the lot you are using is certified! Other providers may allow one-off testing or list lot numbers in the database with the word ‘All’ when not every lot is tested.
  • The testing menu should be transparent and include broad coverage against WADA Prohibited Substances focusing on those that have resulted in positive drug tests.

Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) was proud to be one of the first groups in the world to offer banned substance certification more than 15 years ago, and we remain a leader today. We have certified more than 60 brands and 400 products available in more than 60 countries. The BSCG Certified Drug Free program represents the gold standard with an industry-leading testing menu covering more than 277 drugs banned in sport and an additional 220 over-the-counter, illicit and prescription drugs no other group covers.

To find certified products, explore BSCG Certified Drug Free brands or our database. The BSCG Athlete Assurance Program is available to test products for teams or athletes. Please contact us with any questions, [email protected] or 800-920-6605.


Oliver Catlin is president and co-founder of BSCG (Banned Substances Control Group), a third-party certification and testing provider focused on banned substances, quality control and GMP (good manufacturing practices) compliance for the nutrition, natural product and dietary supplement industries. Since 2004, BSCG has allowed reputable companies to distinguish their brands and helped athletes and consumers to protect themselves.


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