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The Protein Lab served ‘cease & desist’ notice after sports nutrition logo abuse: ‘This is a warning to all brands’

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By Shane Starling+

Last updated on 25-Jan-2017 at 18:48 GMT2017-01-25T18:48:42Z

No excuses? 'We have copped a battering on Twitter' say TPL. ©LGC
No excuses? 'We have copped a battering on Twitter' say TPL. ©LGC

Informed-Sport quality assurance scheme owner LGC has condemned UK firm The Protein Lab  (TPL) for ‘abusing’ its sports nutrition QA logo, after a Twitter outing.

LGC lawyers last night issued a ‘cease & desist’ letter to the Blackpool-based firm demanding it stop all retail activity relating to the products in question,  something TPL director James Wilson told us had already begun after the firm came under fire on Twitter on Thursday.

Wilson said the use of the Informed-Sport logo – a scheme to which about 440 global sports nutrition brands submit for regular batch testing to affirm products are free of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited substances – was an “innocent mistake”.

The 4-year-old firm was under the impression it could use the logo because its contract manufacturer, Lincolnshire-based Park Acre, had an Informed-Sport site registration.

“We thought we were ok with that but obviously this was wrong and we are now sorting that out,” Wilson said. “We have copped a battering on Twitter and people assume we are buying dodgy powders from dodgy sources but we are a reputable company. Resources would be better used shutting down those companies than a case like this. This is an innocent mistake.”

‘Not wholly trustworthy’

This line of argument did not wash with Informed-LGC director of business development Terence O’Rorke who told us TPL had committed "the greatest abuse" of the Informed-Sport scheme since it began almost a decade ago and the firm “was just making an excuse.”

“And they don’t have an excuse – this is an obvious abuse of our logo and we take it very seriously. They are not wholly trustworthy. TPL was in contact with us a couple of years ago enquiring about registration so they know about what is going on. We are a phone call away. This is a warning to all brands.”

Wilson said his firm wanted to work with LGC on the matter but didn’t commit to pursuing an Informed-Sport registration.

It was considering joining the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), the trade group that would not comment on the case as TPL is not a member.

Wilson said TPL had been using the logo for 10 months but would not specify how many product lines or how many SKUs had been affected. Where possible the logo will be removed or if this is not possible the product will be destroyed,” he said of the recall.

There are about 30 international contract manufacturers registered with Informed-Sport’s site registration certification which involves LGC analysts swabbing a facility about twice a year for WADA-listed prohibited substances but does not test individual product batches.

The programme offers peace-of-mind to athletes interested in clean sport and lends QC (quality control) gravitas to sport supplement brands.

An Informed-Sport supplement has never been implicated in an adverse analytical finding (AAF), otherwise known as a doping infringement.

O'Rorke said the Informed-Sport logo had been used without authorisation on single products in the past, but never with an entire range as had been the case with TPL.

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