Banned Substances: How to Play it Safe

by Stacey Shapiro 918 views Supplements

Banned Substances: How to Play it Safe

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: “what supplements are safe for use by tested athletes?” We decided to ask the experts and sat down with Jane Smithers, the National Business Development Manager for HASTA, plus we got the inside scoop from Devon Henson, a premier league rugby union player, on how he balances training, supplementing, and testing.

Each year the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publishes a list of Prohibited Substances and Methods as set out by the World Anti-Doping Code. With hundreds of banned substances on that list, it can be difficult to navigate and understand what ingredients may or may not be allowed as a tested athlete.

In Australia, HASTA is the sports supplement drug testing specialist and the go-to certification body for competitive athletes looking for certified sports supplements. So, what exactly does HASTA do and what does HASTA certified mean? As Jane explains:

“HASTA test for over 250 WADA banned substances, from the WADA Prohibited list, covering all major drug groups. HASTA certified means every batch is tested for WADA banned substances. But certifying a product involves not just testing, it also requires verification of the manufacturing quality controls that are in place. If a product has the ‘HASTA Certified’ seal on pack, it means that every batch has been independently tested for over 250 WADA prohibited substances.”

It's important to note that there is a difference between independent batch testing and HASTA certified. If a product has been batch tested, it means that only a specific batch of product has been sent for Independent Third-Party testing.

lemon water

HASTA certified, as Jane details below, requires significant additional commitment from the supplier which includes:

  1. Verification testing of multiple samples from different batches
  2. Assessment of their independently audited manufacturing QA systems
  3. Once Certified, every batch must be tested

So why all the fuss about athletes and sports supps? At the very basis of the cause is to prevent unfair advantage, promote fairness in sports and deter drug cheats from using banned substances. As Devon explains:

“Banned substance testing is important as these substances lead to an unfair advantage. The whole basis of sports is around inclusivity, fairness, and sportsmanship. Through the use of these substances, when competing in a drug free sport, you take away from the sportsmanship and lose the foundations that sport is built on.”

Sports Integrity Australia are the national anti-doping organisation and provide fantastic resources for athletes to confirm which sports supplements and medications are safer to use. As it’s so important for any sport supplement to be checked prior to use, athletes and clubs will always stick to batch tested products - such as HASTA certified.

“As a club, and team, we are required to consent to testing before the start of the competition. This includes a detailed breakdown of the regulations involved in the sport.

As an athlete, it is imperative that I stick with HASTA certified products to mitigate the chances of any cross-contamination and ultimately failed drug tests.  I use a mobile application from Sport Integrity Australia when I am uncertain of medications and/or supplements,” says Devon.


With so many banned substances on the WADA Prohibited list, and more added every year, it’s more important than ever that athletes are checking their sports supps to prevent a potential ban or career-ending mistake. And Jane couldn’t agree more: “Sport Integrity Australia says, ‘Every year multiple Australian athletes receive anti-doping bans as a result of supplement use.’ Using a HASTA Certified supplement helps reduce the risk of a potentially career ruining anti-doping violation for athletes subject to drug testing.”

If you’re an athlete, sportsperson or just a weekend warrior looking for certified brands, check out Nutrition Warehouse’s list of brands with HASTA certified products in their range:

Please ensure you click each brand to confirm the product you are using within their specified range is in fact HASTA  certified, as not all products may be included.

*Disclaimer: Nutrition Warehouse takes no responsibility for the misuse of supplements containing banned ingredients or their derivatives. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure the products they are using do not contain such ingredients and Nutrition Warehouse cannot confirm that all ingredients currently banned under WADA legislation are included in this article.

Please ensure, you, as the athlete, conduct your own research into what you have purchased prior to consumption.

Stacey Shapiro

Health, Fitness, & Nutrition Writer

I am a firm believer that you are what you eat…and train…and supplement! As a writer with over 10 years’ experience, I have seen and read it all. The truth is, everyone’s health and fitness journey is deeply personal which is why I write to inspire, educate, and instil change in readers who are ready to take on a challenge.
When I’m not writing, I spend my time looking after two busy boys, practicing yoga and preparing delicious, healthy meals for my family.

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