Tuesday, February 22, 2011
What’s a Third-Party Test Worth? Priceless
There have been a number of articles in the media lately that talk about the real science behind products and whether or not there is a need for third-party validation of their safety and efficacy. Well, it’s an interesting thing to think about. Companies usually do their own in-house due diligence in Research and Development prior to bringing a product to market to make sure that it will do exactly what they say it will do and there are no risks or questionable science associated with it, right? Well, you would certainly hope so. I know of one such company that does and I’m not just saying it — others can back it up!
One of the more interesting things that I have found while working at USANA is the importance of third-party testing and third party validation. Why, you ask? Well, I think that I am a fairly demanding consumer and when I buy something I want to know that it has been tested, validated, and confirmed to be effective at doing what it’s supposed to do. In other words, if I buy an automobile, I’m expecting that someone tested it out, confirmed that it is safe to drive, made sure it worked properly, and did so enough times to ensure that my buying and ownership experience would be a good one.
I use this analogy because I spent 15 years in the auto industry and I know first hand how important validating these things can be especially when people put their lives on the line every time they get in their cars. They need their vehicle to be safe and work properly or they run the risk of accidents or engine failures.
So if car companies do their own research and development, then have people like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Consumer Reports, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, etc. check and confirm these things for consumers, why don’t all other companies do the same for other consumer goods? Well, that’s an easy one. It’s expensive to do these tests and validations and often times result in a higher cost of goods. Sometimes, they’re even afraid that the testing will disprove what they have found and they don’t want to have to deal with the fallout. Many companies do their own in-house testing and believe that it’s sufficient and it also saves them a little bit of money along the way.
Well, if I’m going to put something in my body — the most important automobile that I will ever own — I want to make sure that the company providing the goods has not only done their own testing, but that it goes the distance and get that third-party validation. It’s for my peace of mind 🙂
That’s exactly what I found at USANA and it makes me proud to be a part of the company, but more importantly I feel safe knowing that the supplements I take are safe and effective and there are multiple independent organizations that validate those findings.
But Don’t Just Take My Word for It…
USANA invests in the third-party validations from places like ConsumerLab.com, which tests for label validity in products that are both submitted to them for testing and ones that they purchase on their own for independent test results. Since 1999, CL has tested more than 2,900 products, 350 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement in order to help consumers and healthcare professionals identify the best quality health and nutrition products.
ConsumerLab.com is also the only third-party verification group that freely publishes its testing methods and quality criteria/standards. USANA has had a number of products tested by this organization and all have passed with high marks. We were also recognized as #1 in customer satisfaction in a survey of their consumers.
Another organization that we work with is NSF International, which is the nation’s first truly independent testing standard and product certification program.
Why are they important to us? NSF developed the nation’s first truly independent testing standard and product certification program strictly for dietary supplements. We go the extra mile on this one because of the expectations of all of our consumers and elite athletes, like our 6 winter Olympic Teams and the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) that trust our supplements for their elite athletes.
We also test a number of our products with an organization called HFL in the United Kingdom that tests supplements for banned substances and contamination to assure athletes that they can trust products to be pure and effective when they put them in their body. The testing procedures at HFL are designed to meet the standards set forth by the governing bodies of various sports. You can see our core products tested right here.
Then there are the relationship we have the Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon, The University of Utah, Boston University, University of Sydney, and the University of Colorado Denver. There are also numerous doctors and researchers that we rely on regulary to test products, ingredients, safety, and effectiveness of our products. If you want to check out a pretty substantial list, click here.
The Key is to Do Your Own Due Diligence
The bottom line is that if you are going to buy a car or take a supplement, do your fact finding and see what kinds of third-party testing the companies use and whether or not they are truly independent. It’s one thing to say you’ve done your own testing on a product, but are you willing to invest in the research and testing necessary to validate what you have found?
This is what has drawn so many elite athletes, doctors, celebrities, consumers, etc. to USANA. We do our own aggressive research and development in house, but we also partner with credible resources like the Linus Pauling Institute and more importantly, we take that last step and invest in our findings through third-party testing at institutions like ConsumerLab.com and NSF.
You look for it in a car, why wouldn’t you look for it in something to fuel the most important vehicle you’ll ever drive — Your Body!
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Posted by Dan Macuga at 2/22/2011 12:14:00 PM