BSCG (Banned Substances Control Group), a leading third-party certification and testing provider for the dietary supplement, nutrition, natural products, and cosmetic industries, celebrates its 15th anniversary this spring. First formed with a focus on protecting elite athletes and brands from dietary supplement concerns related to banned substances in sport, BSCG has broadened the scope of services to include general quality control testing and compliance services geared towards product integrity and safety for athletes and general consumers.
“In 2004, BSCG was proud to help create a new industry focused on third-party certification of products for banned substances in sport. We’ve come a long way since then,” said Oliver Catlin, president and co-founder of BSCG. “Our commitment to protecting athletes from banned substance concerns remains a primary focus, but we have also been pleased to expand our services to address consumer safety issues for consumers at large as well as animals. We started out servicing a handful of American supplement manufacturers, and now work with more than 60 brands to certify products that are available in more than 39 countries and counting.”
Dr. Don Catlin, who is often described as a father of drug testing in sports, founded BSCG with his son Oliver Catlin and attorney Ryan Connolly. Dr. Catlin had founded the UCLA Olympic Lab, the first anti-doping lab in the United States, in 1982 and built it into the largest sports testing lab in the world by the time he stepped down 25 years later. Both Mr. Catlin and Mr. Connolly served as Director of Finance and Administration at the UCLA Olympic Lab during their careers. Dr. Catlin, now 80, still serves as BSCG’s chief science officer. Mr. Catlin’s leadership role, meanwhile, has solidified over time, both as a respected executive within the company and as a leading light in the supplement and testing and certification industries.
Dr. Catlin and his team were at the forefront of early efforts to ensure supplement safety for athletes and consumers. In a seminal article published in 2000 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), they were among the first to highlight the concern that legal supplements could be contaminated with illegal drugs.
Dr. Catlin and his team participated in a number of heart-wrenching drug testing appeals in which an athlete suffered a great penalty as a result of a supplement product that was contaminated with banned substances in sport. On many occasions testing demonstrated that a contaminated supplement was responsible for a positive drug test — but this work occurred after the fact. “We felt something had to be done proactively to correct this unfortunate situation,” Mr. Catlin explained in 2014. “It’s only right for athletes—and it’s also the best thing for sport. In the end, ensuring that dietary supplements are free of banned substances not only helps protect athletes but it helps protect the integrity of the nutrition and natural product industries as well as sport in general.”
At the vanguard in founding the industry of third-party supplement testing and certification, BSCG has continued to propel the industry forward. BSCG still offers some of the broadest protection available when it comes to WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Prohibited Substances under its certification program, known as BSCG Certified Drug Free. In 2014, BSCG added a variety of over-the-counter and prescription drug compounds to its testing menu, becoming the first to address this health-safety shortcoming for consumers. Indeed, more than 70% of the drugs identified by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) on its Tainted Products Marketed as Dietary Supplements list are not banned in sport. BSCG remains the only certification provider to offer this additional consumer protection in its testing approach.
BSCG is also the only third-party certification provider to offer an expanded testing menu specific to animal supplements and products. Following the prohibited substance guidelines of the ARCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) and FEI (International Federation of Equestrian Sports), BSCG’s expanded testing for animal products includes screening for more than 1,300 substances banned in equine and animal sport.
BSCG has also added other programs that finished product brands, manufacturers, and ingredient suppliers can use in conjunction with or separately from BSCG Certified Drug Free, including BSCG Certified Quality, which tests for label verification and contaminants, and BSCG Certified GMP, which provides onsite audits for good manufacturing practices. BSCG offers an Athlete Assurance Program, directly to athletes, teams, and leagues who want to test custom supplement regiments prior to use.
Today BSCG provides testing and certification services to the dietary supplement, nutrition, natural product, and cosmetic industries. The group works with a range of products, including supplements, nutraceuticals, topical creams, cosmetics, medical devices and more.
In late 2018, BSCG introduced a new certification program, BSCG Certified Hemp. With such testing, Mr. Catlin said, “BSCG hopes to provide a new level of transparency and quality control to hemp-derived products, including CBD products, and help address important athlete and consumer concerns in the process.”
BSCG is also a proud sponsor of Support Clean Sport, a grassroots effort to help encourage athletes to adopt clean strategies for success. In 2018, David Guttenplan, an outspoken clean professional bike racer and head of the Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan Coaching Team, now Support Clean Sport/BSCG/Guttenplan Coaching Team, took the Orange Colavita Overall Leader Jersey as the USA CRITS 2018 season champion.
For more information about BSCG, please visit its website at www.bscg.org or call 1-800-920-6605.
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