Informed Choice is a global quality assurance program for dietary supplements and products in the health and wellness sector, with a primary focus on product integrity. Where CBD / hemp-derived products are certified on the Informed Choice program, consumers can be confident that products have been subjected to extensive testing and product evaluation.
In addition to the core testing elements of the Informed Choice program (which includes regular testing for over 250 prohibited substances), all production batches of certified CBD / hemp-derived products are tested to assess levels of CBD and ∆9-THC.
The certification process can be broken down into 4 stages:
Prior to certification, a certification agreement will be issued along with a program pack, which explains how the program works and provides guidelines for how the Informed Choice logo may be used once product certification is complete. The Member company applying for certification must send product labels to the Informed Choice marketing team for approval of all logo uses. Products may not be retailed bearing the Informed Choice logo until the entire product testing and certification process is complete.
A comprehensive picture of the product is built up and reviewed to understand factors such as product branding and integrity, product variants, retail plans, product testing schedules, and manufacturing facilities. At this stage, the product ingredients are reviewed in detail by experienced assessors to minimize the risk of banned substances.
A review of the procedures in place at relevant manufacturing facilities is then undertaken via a paper-based assessment. This process is managed by experienced assessors, who provide guidance on how to meet the required standards of the Informed Choice program and reduce risk within manufacturing processes.
This stage of the dietary supplement certification includes an assessment of the following:
Prior to certification, a minimum of 3 samples of the product from at least 3 production batches are tested by our accredited testing laboratory. These samples must show no signs of contamination with prohibited substances. Additionally, the samples will be tested for CBD and ∆9-THC content. For CBD, the amount per serving will be compared to the product specification / label claim supplied by the Brand, and the CBD per serving must be within +/- 20% of the declared amount. For ∆9-THC, the amount consumed per day is calculated based on the serving size information and maximum recommended servings per day provided by the Brand. The maximum ∆9-THC consumption per day must be less than 0.083 mg of ∆9-THC. Stages 1 and 2 can be carried out in parallel.
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Once stages one and two are complete and any resulting actions have been closed out, the product will be accepted for certification with Informed Choice. An Informed Choice certificate will be issued, after which time the new Member company may use the Informed Choice logo in association with the certified product. The Member company will be provided with the ‘Informed Choice Brand Standards’ which explains how the logo may be used and how best to market the new certification mark. The certified product will be listed on the Informed Choice website on our certified supplement brands page along with all tested batches. A link is provided to the Member company’s website or applicable purchase site.
LGC makes no claims as to the efficacy, safety, or other risks associated with any products listed, and LGC makes no assurance as to the legal status of any products.
Following certification, each product must undergo post-certification testing. For CBD / hemp-derived products, blind samples will be regularly purchased by the Informed Choice Program Management team from retail outlets. These blind samples are tested for more than 250 prohibited substances to ensure the integrity of that product. In addition, every production batch will also be tested for CBD and ∆9-THC content using the same criteria as applied in the certification testing process.
Batches meeting the post-certification testing criteria for prohibited and potentially harmful substance analysis as well as for CBD and ∆9-THC testing, will be displayed on the Informed Choice website. In addition to regular product testing, the product and manufacturing facilities are regularly re-reviewed to ensure the requirements of Informed Choice continue to be met.