Companies can apply to have finished products and specific ingredients registered with Informed-Choice. See below for details of the registration process. Manufacturing sites/raw material handling facilities may also be registered with Informed-Choice. See the Site Registration Process tab for more detail.
Registration of a finished product/ingredient with Informed-Choice involves 3 stages:
Please click for more detail about a stage or process.
Stage 1: Product/Ingredient Assessment Review
A full review of the quality systems in place at manufacturing facility is undertaken.
- Product/Ingredient Evaluation
- Raw Material (RM) Evaluation at Each Production/Packing Site
- Raw Material Supplier Assessment Procedures
- Certificate and SOP Review for all Production/Packing/Storage Areas
- Label Claim, Purity and Contaminant Testing Review
- Third Party Manufacturer (TPM)
Stage 2: Pre-Registration Sample Testing
Before a product/ingredient can be registered with Informed-Choice, at least three pre-registration samples of the product/ingredient must be tested using LGC's nutritional supplement screen. These samples must not show evidence for contamination with prohibited substances.
The samples will be taken from across several production runs/batches. This testing will be carried out in parallel with the Product/Ingredient Assessment (Stage 1). Analysis time is typically 6 working days from receipt at the lab, and results will be reported to the prospective member via a Certificate of Analysis.
Stage 3: Post-Registration Requirements
Once Stages 1 and 2 are complete, and the requirements of Informed-Choice have been met, the product/ingredient will be accepted for registration with Informed-Choice. A license agreement will be issued, which enables the new member company to use the Informed-Choice logo on the registered product/ingredient. The registered product/ingredient will be listed on the Informed-Choice website. This includes detailed information of all batches that have been tested. A link to the member company's website is also added.
- Post-Registration Batch Testing and "Blind Sampling"
Stage 1: Product/Ingredient Assessment Review
A full review of the quality systems in place at the product/ingredient manufacturing facility is undertaken. This is carried out initially via a paper/electronic audit, and physical audits are also performed where needed. The aim of this audit is to ensure that the facility follows good manufacturing practices. In addition, particular attention is aimed at filling the gap between where standard good manufacturing practice requirements end, and sports anti-doping practices begin. The ultimate objective is to ensure that preventative measures are in place to minimize contamination of a product/ingredient with a prohibited substance.
The Product/Ingredient Assessment involves a review of certificates of accreditation held by the facility, a thorough review of standard operating procedures in place at the manufacturing/packing facility, label checks on the product, review of all raw materials handled at the manufacturing/packing site and assessment of likely risks with respect to prohibited substance contamination, etc.
During the review any remedial actions are discussed with the company wishing to register its product/ingredient. Once these remedial actions have been addressed the registration process can proceed.
If any issues arise from the manufacturing review that requires further detailed assessment, an on-site audit will be performed to assess procedures at the facility. The on-site audit will include collection of swabs from various parts of the facility. These swabs will be analyzed for traces of prohibited substances.
The Product/Ingredient Assessment is carried out by trained staff at LGC, a world class sports anti-doping laboratory. LGC has over 50 years of expertise in anti-doping in sport and has published over 300 scientific papers on methods it has developed for the detection of trace levels of substances that are prohibited in sport. LGC has over 450 man-years of research into sports doping control.
The information provided by the prospective member during the Product/Ingredient Assessment is assessed against knowledge and intelligence gained from LGC's analysis of over 35,000 supplement/ingredient samples for prohibited substances over the past 10 years, as well as the expertise gained from working in the sports anti-doping community. LGC also has considerable expertise in quality control procedures and working within the requirements of internationally recognized quality systems.
The Product/Ingredient Assessment is a thorough audit of the quality systems in place at the manufacturing/packing facility. This audit is backed up by pre-registration testing of the product/ingredient that is being considered for registration (Stage 2). The Product/Ingredient Assessment is also reinforced by a physical site audit where this is considered necessary.
It should be noted that the Product/Ingredient Assessment is not designed to replace good manufacturing practice (or equivalent) audits. Instead, it is designed to sit alongside the quality systems (such as GMP’s) that are already in place at the facility, bridging the gap between where standard good manufacturing practices end, and where sports doping control requirements begin.
(Note: Some companies use multiple sites to make their products/ingredients; each site undergoes the same checks as part of the registration process. This includes any outsourced packing/ storage facilities)
- Product formulation/ingredient review
- Label review (claims, nutritional labeling, thorough check of ingredients used)
- Product variances review (e.g. flavors, container sizes)
- Batch/lot size check
- Product shelf life check
Raw Material (RM) Evaluation at Each Production/Packing Site
- Review of all RM handled at the manufacturing/packing facility, including assessment of any ingredients that may be considered prohibited in sport or that pose a contamination risk. This includes potential prohibited RM that may have previously been handled at the facility
- Review raw material testing records
- Review of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for RM storage and handling
Raw Material Supplier Assessment Procedures
- Review documentation on RM supplier selection and qualification
- Review quality standards used to qualify supplier or broker
- Review where RM are sourced from
- Review understanding/knowledge of RM suppliers regarding prohibited substance testing and contamination risks
Certificate and SOP Review for all Production/Packing/Storage Areas
- Review of certificates obtained from qualified 3rd party auditors for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) or similar standards
- Review SOPs at the facility, including cleaning SOPs, staff training/hygiene practices, RM handling SOPs, traceability/recall SOPs, CAPA processes, procedures for retained samples, etc.
- Review production records and internal quality systems
- Review homogeneity tests
- Review of equipment used at the facility
Label Claim, Purity and Contaminant Testing Review
- Review previous nutritional label and contamination testing and frequency of ongoing label/purity testing
- Review any previous compliance issues with prohibited substance contamination, contamination with other harmful contaminants, failed nutritional label tests, etc
Third Party Manufacturer (TPM)
- Review TPM selection and qualification procedures
- Review of SOPs and procedures as outlined above for Production/Packing/Storage areas
- Review awareness and understanding of TPM with regard to prohibited substance testing and contamination risk
Stage 2: Pre-Registration Sample Testing
The manufacturer will submit at least 3 samples of each product/ingredient to be registered to LGC for testing using its nutritional supplement screen. LGC has been analyzing supplements/ingredients for over 10 years, and has tested tens of thousands of samples to date. LGC's supplement screen includes ISO 17025 accredited tests for prohibited substances in all formulation types (tablets, bars, powders, capsules, liquids, gels). All testing is performed in its ISO 17025 accredited lab. See Testing Specification for more detail.
The pre-registration samples will be tested in parallel with the Product/Ingredient Assessment being performed. Analysis time for the testing is typically 7 to 10 working days from receipt at the lab, and results will be reported to the prospective member via a Certificate of Analysis.
For the purpose of product/ingredient registration, if more than 1 variant of the product/ingredient exists, this will be counted as a single product.
Post-Registration Batch Testing and "Blind" Sampling
Once registered, ongoing batch testing is conducted using blind sample testing carried out by LGC each month to ensure the products carrying the Informed-Choice seal are part of a regular screening program.
Each tested batch will be listed on the Informed-Choice website.