Informed choice is a certification program for sports supplements, raw materials, and manufacturing facilities, which assures athletes that products carrying the Informed-Choice marks have been regularly tested for substances considered prohibited in sport. In addition, Informed-Choice also ensures products have been manufactured to high quality standards. Responsible supplement brands such as Pure Vita Labs (PVL), have made Informed-Choice part of our existing quality assurance systems to ensure our 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 (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 and ingredients to minimize the incidence of banned contaminants finding their way into sport. The program 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 (2007) certification program was established by one of the world's leading sports doping control laboratories, HFL Sport Science, which is now known as LGC. 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 also ensured products were manufactured to high quality standards.
The Informed-Choice certification is a voluntary program for reputable supplement companies who wish to register some, or all, of their products and carry the Informed-Choice mark on those product. Athletes who see the Informed-Choice logo on a product can be assured it has undergone rigorous checks and banned substance testing.
Details about Informed-Choice and the Testing Process
Although there is no such thing as a ‘100% guarantee' that tested supplements are free of all banned substances, 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 tens of thousands of supplement and raw material samples over the past two decades 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 10 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:
- Product evaluation including formulation, label claims, nutritional labeling, contaminant testing, etc.
- Raw material evaluation at each production site
- Review of accreditations held by the manufacturing and packing facility, such as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
- 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.
- Raw material supplier assessment
- Finished goods storage and distribution evaluation
Pre-registration product testing is also required prior to acceptance into the Informed-Choice program. This includes testing of 3 or more 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/or blind sample testing is carried out to ensure the products in the market are safer for athletes to use.
For a list of all tested PVL products, please visit the Informed-Choice website at: