Health Science Certification Program Basics

NSF offers three levels of dietary supplement and personal care product certification: GMP Certification, product certification & NSF Certified for Sport®

NSF certification helps ensure the highest level of facility management and product quality for the nutritional products, cosmetics, personal care, and OTC industries.

There are three main types of certification for your products: GMP, Product, and Certified for Sport. For more information, please see this infographic.

NSF/ANSI 455 GMP Certification

With input from industry representatives, public health officials, regulators, and consumer-interest groups, NSF facilitated the development of the NSF/ANSI 455 GMP audit standards for dietary supplement, cosmetics, and OTC drug manufacturers and packagers, as well as for warehousing and distribution companies. These standards encompass regulatory requirements, retailer quality requirements, and industry best practices and are designed to strengthen safety, quality, and trust throughout the supply chain.

The portfolio of GMP standards includes:

  • NSF/ANSI 455-2 Good Manufacturing Practices for Dietary Supplements
  • NSF/ANSI 455-3 Good Manufacturing Practices for Cosmetics
  • NSF/ANSI 455-4 Good Manufacturing Practices for OTC Drugs

GMP certification or registration assures consumers and retailers that your product is manufactured utilizing industry best practices.

The benefits of GMP certification or registration include:

  • Increases protection of your brand and minimizes risks
  • Prepares your facility for regulatory inspections
  • Helps your facility to build a robust quality and GMP program
  • Reduces the number of GMP audits and the financial costs associated with audits
  • Helps in fostering a culture of product safety and quality within your organization
  • Demonstrates your commitment to product safety and quality to your customers

NSF is accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to certify NSF/ANSI 455 standards. In addition, NSF and GRMA have signed an agreement for NSF to provide NSF/ANSI 455 audits to member suppliers through its GRMA certification program.

NSF/ANSI 173 Certification

NSF certifies dietary supplements to NSF/ANSI 173, the only American National Standard for testing and certifying dietary supplements. Our expert team of chemists, microbiologists, and toxicologists works in testing laboratories in the U.S., Europe, and China.

NSF evaluates the composition of dietary supplements and ingredients. The assessment includes testing for vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, sports supplements, concentrates, metabolites, constituents, and extracts to verify the supplement facts panel reflects the product's contents or that the certificate of analysis for the ingredient accurately depicts its identity and purity specifications.

To ensure that a safer product reaches consumers, we assess products and ingredients for contaminants that impact health, including the toxic elements lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium (VI). We test for aerobic microorganisms, yeast and molds, and Enterobacteriaceae, specifically for the potential pathogens Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. We analyze for hepatotoxic mycotoxins released by fungi. We assess items that contain botanical materials for the presence of pesticides.

Unique to our certification program, we conduct annual audits and periodically retest certified products to ensure continued compliance with the most rigorous quality standard in the world for dietary supplements.

NSF 527 Personal Care Product Certification

Through testing and verification, personal care products can be certified to the NSF Certification Guidelines 527 – Personal Care Products. The personal care product guidelines are based on global testing protocols and methods for ISO, European Commission, Health Canada, and US FDA criteria.

NSF evaluates each formulation for ingredient acceptability, conducts a formula and label claim verification, and tests purity, identity, contaminants, and adulterants. The program ensures personal care products intended for topical use ingredients are accurately identified and represented on the label.

NSF 527 personal care product certification aims to bring transparency and consumers' confidence in purchasing certified cosmetics and personal care products.

Certified for Sport®

Our Certified for Sport® program certifies dietary supplements, functional foods, cosmetics, and personal care products to be free from substances banned by major sporting organizations. It helps athletes, dietitians, coaches, and consumers make more informed decisions when choosing sports supplements to reduce their risk of doping sanctions. We screen for hundreds of substances across all classes, including steroids, SARMs, stimulants, beta-agonists, diuretics, growth hormone-releasing agents, and hormone metabolic modulators. Products Certified for Sport® must also be certified to either NSF/ANSI 173, NSF 229, or NSF 527 to ensure their contents match their claims.

Certified for Sport® is the only independent, third-party certification program recognized by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Certified for Sport® is also recommended by the NFL, NBA, PGA, LPGA, UFC, CCES, CPSDA, iNADO, Ironman, NASCAR, Taylor Hooton Foundation, and other organizations that seek to mitigate the risks of contaminated dietary supplements, functional foods, cosmetics, and personal care products.

NSF Webinar: Your 455 Certification Just Got Easier

This expert webinar covers the essentials for ramping up NSF/ANSI 455 GMP certification, including “life hacks” to help you prepare.
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