The most common third-party certification seals that appear on some dietary supplement products are (in alphabetical order) BSCG Certified Drug Free, Informed-Choice (or Informed-Sport), NSF Certified for Sport, and USP Verified. 

Logos for Banned Substances Control Group, Informed-Sport.org, NSF.org, and U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention

These third-party certification seals confirm independent testing and evaluation of dietary supplements and their ingredients and ensure that manufacturing and storage facilities comply with GMP (or similar) requirements. The companies that conduct such reviews vary widely in terms of how they approach the certification process and how they test products. Certification programs confirm that a product contains the ingredients listed on the label. They do not ensure a product’s effectiveness or safety.

The seals of 3 of the organizations mentioned above (BSCG, LGC, and NSF) also ensure a product has been tested for and does not contain ingredients banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The 4th (USP) does not test for substances banned in sport, but they do verify the ingredients and their amounts in products. Note: All such testing is essentially a snapshot in time of a particular product and is no guarantee that future batches will have the same test results.

Updated 25 September 2018

References

Akabas, S. R., Vannice, G., Atwater, J. B., Cooperman, T., Cotter, R., & Thomas, L. (2016). Quality certification programs for dietary supplements. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(9), 1370–1379. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.11.003

Attipoe, S., Cohen, P. A., Eichner, A., & Deuster, P. A. (2016). Variability of stimulant levels in nine sports supplements over a 9-month period. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 26(5), 413–420. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2015-0177

Bailey, R. L. (2018). Current regulatory guidelines and resources to support research of dietary supplements in the United States. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition(online), 1–12. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1524364

Banned Substances Control Group. BSCG. Retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://www.bscg.org/

Buell, J. L., Franks, R., Ransone, J., Powers, M. E., Laquale, K. M., & Carlson-Phillips, A. (2013). National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement: Evaluation of dietary supplements for performance nutrition. Journal of Athletic Training, 48(1), 124–136. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.16

Eichner, A. K., Coyles, J., Fedoruk, M., Maxey, T. D., Lenaghan, R. A., Novitzky, J., . . . Deuster, P. A. (2019). Essential features of third-party certification programs for dietary supplements. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 18(5), 178–182. doi:10.1249/jsr.0000000000000595

Jones, D. R., Kasper, K. B., & Deuster, P. A. (2015). Third-party evaluation: A review of dietary supplements dispensed by military treatment facilities from 2007 to 2011. Military Medicine, 180(7), 737–741. doi:10.7205/milmed-d-14-00500

Kerksick, C. M., Wilborn, C. D., Roberts, M. D., Smith-Ryan, A., Kleiner, S. M., Jäger, R., . . . Kreider, R. B. (2018). ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: Research & recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), Art. 38. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0242-y

LCG Group. Informed-Choice. Retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://www.informed-choice.org/

LeDoux, M. A., Appelhans, K. R., Braun, L. A., Dziedziczak, D., Jennings, S., Liu, L., . . . Griffiths, J. C. (2015). A quality dietary supplement: Before you start and after it’s marketed—a conference report. European Journal of Nutrition, 54(S1), 1–8. doi:10.1007/s00394-014-0827-4

LGC Group. Informed-Sport. Retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://www.informed-sport.com/

Mathews, N. M. (2017). Prohibited contaminants in dietary supplements. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 10(1), 19–30. doi:10.1177/1941738117727736

Maughan, R. J., Shirreffs, S. M., & Vernec, A. (2018). Making decisions about supplement use. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(2), 212–219. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0009

NSF International. NSF. Retrieved 20 May 2019 from http://www.nsf.org/

Peeling, P., Castell, L. M., Derave, W., de Hon, O., & Burke, L. M. (2019). Sports foods and dietary supplements for optimal function and performance enhancement in track-and-field athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 29(2), 198–209. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0271

Sarma, N., Giancaspro, G., & Venema, J. (2016). Dietary supplements quality analysis tools from the United States Pharmacopeia. Drug Testing and Analysis, 8(3-4), 418–423. doi:10.1002/dta.1940

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention. Quality Supplements. Retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://www.quality-supplements.org/

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention. USP. Retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://www.usp.org/

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The need for oversight. Retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://www.usada.org/substances/supplement-411/reduce-risk-testing-positive-experiencing-adverse-health-effects/need-oversight/