“Our main aim here is to ensure consumers are getting the best out of their products, and to ensure they’re being smart by keeping a safe distance from the few irresponsible companies still out there that insist on operating outside the law – alongside, of course, our work with the authorities to stamp out these charlatans,” commented Dr Adam Carey, chair of ESSNA.
ESSNA said its 50+ members of the sports nutrition industry sign up to its strict code of conduct, making a promise to the consumer that all their products comply fully with the European legislation put in place for their protection.
“Too many misconceptions continue to fly around about our products, whether that’s the media claiming that we’re not overseen by any law or athletes blaming their doping scandals on ‘unclean’ sports supplements,” said Carey. “The fact is, the majority of the industry is extremely responsible and complies with stringent European laws around the production, labelling and selling of its products.”
Alongside the new ESSNA kitemark, the association has also launched a new online resource which the public can refer to for more information on everything sports nutrition related – including a step-by-step guides to buying certain products, general ‘do’s and don’ts, and a platform for the public to use to report products they believe to be dodgy, as well as tips on how to identify those.
“The public need not be worried or concerned when buying sports nutrition products and they need to understand that their safety and good health is the industry’s number one priority. But more than that, we want an informed public,” Carey added. “It’s time once and for all – particularly as we see a huge growth in the sector as it moves further and further into the mainstream - to make sure the public understand what they’re consuming and how they can stay safe while consuming it.
“Our campaign will educate them on everything from what benefits they can expect to see, to what brands they can trust, to what ingredients they should avoid.”
ESSNA has also launched a Facebook page to encourage consumers to report products they come across on the social media platform, which sees a high number of sales of sports nutrition products every day.
Future resources will include an entire separate website dedicated wholly to protein, regular attendance at consumer events to facilitate face-to-face conversations with the public, and a campaign week to raise awareness of doping and press for clean sport, as well as partnerships with enforcement and regulatory bodies across all European Union Member States.
“We are in the early stages of the campaign but we’re very excited to continue to produce new material to help the public over the next few months,” said the ESSNA chair.
“We have, however, identified the most crucial and central aspect of this campaign as giving the public a way to easily identify if the products they’re buying are safe and lawful, which is where our kitemark comes in.
“From now on, when you see the ESSNA member kitemark on a product, you can be sure you’re getting the real deal,” said Carey.