Interest in the scheme, which was launched in 2005 in a bid to minimize the risk that a dietary supplement or sports nutrition product contains banned substances, has been building slowly but steadily, Ed Wyszumiala, general manager of dietary supplements certification programs at NSF International, told NutraIngredients-USA.
“The program continues to grow and gain support from the athletic community. NSF tests and certifies nutritional supplements used by athletes in the MLB, NFL, PGA, Ladies’ PGA and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.
“More than 170 products have earned the NSF Certified for Sport designation. Vitamin Shoppe recently became the first retailer to earn NSF Certified for Sport certification on a product line.
“In addition, NSF International just launched a new NSF Sport app for iPhone and Android to easily search and find Certified for Sport certified dietary supplements and sports nutrition products.”
The London Olympics
The forthcoming London Olympics was also focusing minds, he said.
“There is a growing focus around supplement contamination whenever there is an Olympic or other large scale global sporting event. If an athlete tests positive and it’s traced to a supplement it will lead to negative attention that the industry does not need.”
Asked what, if anything, was holding back progress, he said: “Not much, the program is experiencing solid growth over the past several years.”
But he added: “One aspect holding back progress may be general understanding of the program, and why it is important for companies to participate. Some companies may think it is unaffordable, which is a common misconception.”
How it works
Classes of compounds screened during testing and inspection include more than 165 stimulants, narcotics, steroids, diuretics, beta-2-agonists, beta blockers and masking agents to help ensure athletes’ products are free of substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, NSF Annex A, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The objective is to certify that participating manufacturers have met NSF's certification process guidelines, which were developed through a consensus process involving regulatory, sports industry and consumer groups.
A key component of this program is an NSF Mark on each product label to show athletes, coaches and consumers that a sports supplement has met the guidelines.
Click here for more details.
Click here to see which products have earned Certified for Sport designation.