Supplements: What is third party certification?

Logos for Banned Substances Control Group,,,, and U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention

Third-party certification organizations provide independent testing to evaluate supplements and their ingredients. Although this does not ensure the effectiveness of a product, certification programs do verify that a product is of high quality, consists of the ingredients listed on the label, and does not include any undeclared ingredients. Note that such testing is essentially a snapshot in time of a particular product and is no guarantee that future batches will be the same.

The most prominent organizations that offer third-party certification are NSF International, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), Informed-Choice, ConsumerLab, and Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG). One program, NSF’s Certified for Sport®, ensures that sports-oriented products do not contain banned substances. They also conduct safety reviews to evaluate whether the combinations of ingredients in these products might pose harm. A certification/seal is provided to appear on the label of the approved product upon completion of the certification process.

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