Williams and Warburton case shows sports nutrition brands must do more to reduce the ‘spectre’ of doping; Cambridge issues statement


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Sports nutrition firm says Williams and Warburton case highlights that, “many sports nutrition brands are putting their athletes at risk by not having their products fully vetted"
Sports nutrition firm says Williams and Warburton case highlights that, “many sports nutrition brands are putting their athletes at risk by not having their products fully vetted"
UK sports nutrition brand Science Fitness has challenged firms to ramp up quality control (QC) measures to reduce the risk of sector-wide implication in doping cases via contamination.

The firm called on both sports supplement manufacturers and athletes to raise standards to challenge the ‘spectre’ of supplement-linked doping scandals like the one involving Welsh track athletes Rhys Williams and Gareth Warburton.

“…it does raise the spectre that many sports nutrition brands are putting their athletes at risk by not having their products fully vetted by an accredited, WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency]-approved testing agency, such as [LGC-owned] Informed-Sport,”​ Science Fitness said.

Utmost caution

This month the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) independent panel​handed the two athletes reduced bans for accidental doping via contaminated Mountain Fuel energy drink powders, prompting the two to warn athletes off supplements altogether.

“If Williams and Warburton think that no sports products can be trusted, they should pay attention to the facts,” ​the firm said, noting no Informed-Sport registered supplement had ever been implicated in a doping scandal.

“Sounds conclusive to us. The truth is, it is about making informed choices when putting your career and your performance in someone else’s hands.”

 ‘Vanishingly small amount’

An Informed-Sport registered Fitness Science blend

The company added: “Amazingly, there are only 250 individual products which have the full approval from Informed-Sport, which, when you consider the enormous growth of sports nutrition in recent years, is a vanishingly small amount.”

“The important question is: why do so few companies make this commitment with their products?  Put simply, it is not an easy process, nor is it cheap.”

“At Science Fitness, we know our runners and riders wouldn’t dream of cutting corners and we believe they should expect the same of us, full stop.”

Tracing the contamination source

The Mountain Fuel products in question were not registered with Informed-Sport, and there has been much speculation about how the analobic steroid traces entered the products and athletes’ bodies.

Cambridge Commodities Ltd (CCL), the third party manufacturer of the Mountain Fuel blends, today issued a statement clarifying that independent LGC-testing showed the batch in question was free of contaminants at the point it went to the packing firm, Flexible Packing Services.    

The Mountain Fuel product at the heart of the scandal. Samples in possession of the two athletes tested positive for anabolic steroids

“CCL can confirm that independent LGC tests of the original raw and batch blend CCL ingredients supplied to Mountain Fuel were free of banned substances,”​ it said.

“As such, it appears that any contamination occurred outside of the scope of CCL’s contract.”

“CCL was contracted to provide a batch blend of raw ingredients to Mountain Fuel for their Xtreme Energy drink. CCL was responsible for manufacturing and supplying raw ingredients and batch blends, but was at no point involved in the packing of the product.”

“As an Informed-Sport registered site, CCL has rigorous quality assurance procedures in place to minimise the risk of cross contamination. Furthermore, no banned substances named on the WADA list are handled by CCL.”

Data provision


Since it was named in the UKAD independent panel report CCL has had to weather accusations it was at fault for the contamination, including from Mountain Fuel brand owner Darren Foote who initially blamed the problem on a then unamed ‘contract manufacturer’ when the steroid positives came to light last summer.

The LGC analysis of its blends was seen by UKAD and its independent panel, but CCL was not contacted to provide any further information about it.

Flexible Packing Services has never been implicated in a contamination issue, the firm said.

Read a more detailed look at the case here​.

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