Blog: Media correction – supplement product Spark is not ASADA approved

18 September 2015

The Herald Sun story published on 18 September 2015 headed, ‘North’s Spark is legal’ gives the wrong impression that the supplement product has ASADA’s approval.

The story stated, ‘…supplement drink Spark “triple-checked” by ASADA …’ and included a claim by a North Melbourne player that the supplement product is, ‘… WADA and ASADA compliant …’.

Melbourne radio station 3AW also interviewed the North Melbourne player where they again claimed the supplement product is, ‘… WADA and ASADA compliant …’.

ASADA and WADA do not endorse or certify supplement products.

Supplements pose a real doping risk to Australian athletes. More than half of the Australian athletes banned from sport in 2013 tested positive to a prohibited stimulant found within a supplement product. For a number of years we have been communicating our concerns about the risks of supplement products to athletes and sports.

Our position regarding supplements has been consistent for a number of years and is included on our website and in our education program with athletes. The fact is that athletes who take supplements are at risk of committing an anti-doping rule violation. This is because substances prohibited in sport may be added deliberately during the supplement manufacturing process, or included inadvertently through contamination. So despite the claims made by supplement manufacturers that their products are safe and free of substances prohibited in sport, it is not possible to offer an absolute guarantee to athletes. It is for this reason ASADA and WADA do not endorse supplement products or offer advice to athletes about which supplement to take.

We are concerned that the impression left with readers of the Herald Sun article and listeners of 3AW is that the supplement product is endorsed by ASADA as safe to take when in reality we cannot give this endorsement. Based on our experience there are numerous cases where both Australian and international athletes have been sanctioned (up to two-years) from sport after they have used supplements that they thought were safe, but were actually contaminated with prohibited substances.

To avoid any possible confusion we have requested the Herald Sun and 3AW to clarify our position so athletes who are subject to anti-doping testing under the World Anti-Doping Code are not placed at risk.