Reputable suppliers can certify their raw materials and ingredients with Informed Ingredient in order to help companies easily identify them as having appropriate quality systems and testing in place to ensure the integrity of supplied ingredients.
For suppliers of ingredients destined for sports supplements, the risk of contamination with low levels of substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is a serious issue. The Informed Ingredient programme was created by LGC, an industry leader in quality assurance and testing of sports nutrition ingredients for WADA-banned substances. It enables ingredient suppliers to have confidence in both the ingredient and also in respect of the quality control procedures in place at the manufacturing facility to reduce the risk of contamination.
The Informed Ingredient certification provides suppliers with the assurance that their ingredients carrying the Informed Ingredient mark have been regularly tested for substances considered prohibited in sport. In addition, Informed Ingredient also ensures that ingredients have been manufactured to high-quality standards.
A full review of the procedures in place at the manufacturing facility is 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 Ingredient programme and reduce risk within manufacturing processes.
This stage of the certification includes an assessment of the following:
Pre-certification involves testing a minimum of three pre-certification samples using LGC's ISO 17025 accredited prohibited substances supplement screen. All samples must consist of a minimum ingredient weight of 100g, either in final sealed packaging, or dispensed into a clean (unused) secure packaging. Analysis of these samples must not show evidence of contamination with prohibited substances.
This testing will be carried out in parallel with the Ingredient & Manufacturing Review (Stage 1).
Once Stages 1 and 2 are complete and any resulting actions have been closed out, the ingredient will be accepted for certification with Informed Ingredient. An Informed Ingredient certificate will be issued, after which time the new Member company may use the Informed Ingredient logo in association with the certified ingredient. The Member company will be provided with the ‘Informed Ingredient Brand Standards’ which explains how the logo may be used and how best to market the new certification mark. The certified ingredient will be listed on the Informed Ingredient website along with all tested batches. A link to the Member company's website is also included.
Following certification, the Informed Ingredient is subjected to a regular testing process. As a standard process, each month the Member company will submit the latest production batch for testing using LGC's ISO 17025 accredited prohibited substances supplement screen. Companies may choose to test additional batches above and beyond the monthly testing regime or may test every batch if preferred. This allows Member companies to ensure the testing profile is fit for its purpose and meets the needs of their customers, whilst fulfilling the requirements of regular testing for banned substances.
Where a Member company can confirm a production frequency of fewer than 12 batches per year of the certified ingredient, the Member may elect to submit a sample of every production batch to LGC; samples being submitted immediately following production. Batch volumes and samples will be monitored to ensure the appropriate testing frequency is being adhered to.