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How to Get Certified

Cycling event

What Does It Take to Be Certified for Sport®

NSF's Certified for Sport® program helps athletes, dieticians, coaches, and consumers make safer decisions when choosing sports supplements, functional foods and cosmetics/personal care products. Certified for Sport® is the only independent third-party certification program recognized by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the Canadian Football League. Certified for Sport® is also recommended by the NFL, NBA, PGA, LPGA, CCES, CPSDA, iNADO, Ironman, NASCAR, Taylor Hooton Foundation, and many other organizations seeking to mitigate the risks of contaminated dietary supplements.

Manufacturers that pursue certification undergo product testing for 290 banned substances, label content confirmation, a formulation and label review, production facility and supplier inspections, and ongoing monitoring in line with prohibited substance lists of the NFL and MLB as well as NSF Annex C.

Steps to Certification

Companies that pursue certification to Certified for Sport® go through these steps:

Step 1 – GMP Certification

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification verifies that the product is manufactured, packaged and stored in a facility that is audited annually, or bi-annually based on grade, for quality and safety in compliance with federal regulations for dietary supplements, functional foods or cosmetics/ personal care GMPs.

GMP certification includes:

  • Audits of all production facilities that manufacture, package, warehouse or distribute dietary supplements, functional foods or cosmetics/ personal care products
  • Review of quality control testing procedures for raw materials and finished products
  • Review of maintenance, housekeeping, cleaning and sanitization procedures
  • Review of sourcing and traceability procedures
  • Review of training and qualification programs
  • Review of internal SOPs
  • Review of product recall procedures

Step 2 – Contents Tested & Certified Certification

Once step 1 is complete, NSF experts evaluate the product contents. They then test the finished product to verify that it contains no unsafe levels of contaminants and meets the claims and contents shown on the product label.

Annual Laboratory Testing/Verification
  • Label content verification
  • Contaminants
    • Microbiological and heavy metals
  • Dietary supplement specific testing (not inclusive):
    • Protein and caffeine verification
    • Disintegration testing
    • Residual solvents
    • Pesticides/herbicides
  • Cosmetics/Personal Care specific testing (not inclusive):
    • PFAS- all products
    • Based on formulation:
      • 1, 4-dioxane
      • Benzene
      • Nitrosamines
      • Methanol
      • THC
      • Asbestos
      • Sulfates
      • Phthalates
      • Parabens
  • Ongoing monitoring
    • Review of formulation/supplier changes by NSF experts, including further testing if justified
    • Annual audit of product manufacturing and product complaints to ensure:
      • Product has undergone no unevaluated changes
      • Product manufacturing meets strict quality standards from raw material receipt to release for distribution
      • Product complaints are addressed and do not impact certification
    • Ongoing annual testing of product for compliance

Step 3 – Certified for Sport® Certification

Once steps 1 and 2 are completed, production lots are then tested to ensure they are free from 290 banned substances. NSF experts continue to integrate newly banned substances to ensure we are on the cutting edge of banned substance testing in the marketplace. Certified for Sport® is recognized and respected by many major sport organizations. At this point, the Certified for Sport® mark can be shown on the product label.

Banned substance testing includes:

  • Drugs of abuse
  • Anabolic agents
  • Diuretics
  • Beta-2 agonists
  • Masking agents
  • Hormone antagonists
  • Hormone and metabolic modulators
  • SARMs
  • Growth hormone-releasing peptides
  • Stimulants
  • Beta blockers

Lots tested will be listed online at and in the Certified for Sport® app.