June 2013

LGC announces initiative to drive harmonisation in sport supplement testing for banned substances

LGC, hosted by the European Parliament, will announce an initiative on 5 June 2013 to drive the harmonisation of banned substance-testing programmes for sports supplements around Europe, alongside the presentation of results from a new survey of banned substance contamination in top brand sport supplements within the EU.
Through more than 50 years of anti-doping testing and understanding the approaches of numerous anti-doping groups on supplement usage, LGC's Sport Science laboratories – formerly HFL Sport Science- has undertaken to try to facilitate the harmonisation of the approach to sport supplement testing in Europe.
Our Informed-Sport and Informed-Choice programmes, launched in 2007, help reputable supplement manufacturers reduce the risk of their products being inadvertently contaminated with banned substances that could give rise to a positive doping test for an athlete, by testing products for banned substances using highly sensitive analytical techniques. The programmes allow companies to use a logo on packaging to enable athletes to easily spot those products that have been tested for banned substances and have met the rigorous certification requirements.
Caroline Russell, Operations Director at LGC’s Sport Science laboratories, says, “A number of member states of the EU have developed, or are developing, programmes to test sport supplements for banned substances.  However, the approaches differ enormously, and may actually mislead elite athletes, clubs, coaches and sports bodies, rather than provide them with the required level of risk management. Our goal is to provide athletes with a true risk management approach when taking supplements, by knowing that if a supplement is tested they can be certain the same core standards of supplement testing are carried out.”

Dr. David Hall, former CEO of HFL Sport Science, and Chair of the upcoming summit, said, “The issue is that there is no set standard as to what quantifies a valid supplement testing standard. Current programmes may or may not involve analytical testing for banned substances, via labs that may or may not be directly involved in doping control.  Athletes cannot be expected to understand the scientific issues that sit behind risk management programmes, and so there is a massive need to set a minimum standard that all such programmes should comply with.”
Furthermore, LGC has recently undertaken an extensive survey of top brand sport supplements across the EU, and identified that untested products still have a considerable risk of contamination with steroids and stimulants. Results of this survey will be available following the summit, on 6 June.
The summit is intended to highlight the issues of supplement contamination faced within the industry, as well as identify the need for a harmonised approach to supplement testing laboratories within Europe.