Sports nutrition products are regularly cited in the media as a reason for athletes failing doping tests, sometimes because the athlete or coach responsible has specifically named the product involved. Occasionally this is reasonable, but often this is an unfair and out-of-date characterisation of a responsible, mainstream sector of the food and nutrition industry.
Virtually all performance-enhancing substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances are also banned from sports nutrition products sold in the EU. Furthermore, many sports nutrition companies take great steps to minimise the risk of processing, producing or selling a contaminated or adulterated product.
Although this risk can never be eliminated entirely, many companies choose to add a layer of assurance by having their products tested through world-leading testing programmes such as Informed-Sport/Informed-Choice, NZVT or Certified for Sport. Of those companies that do not choose to test their products, the vast majority take their responsibilities seriously: they are committed to having a full understanding of the provenance of the materials that go into a safely manufactured, accurately labelled final product.
Significant progress has been made by the sports nutrition industry to raise the overall levels of quality assurance in the last decade, but for a variety of reasons the risk of contamination leading to a failed doping test still exists. For this reason the industry must continue to be vigilant around this issue.