The association announced that seven CRN members – FoodState; Garden of Life; Glanbia Performance Nutrition; Herbalife; NBTY; Pharmavite – and two non-CRN members – GNC (member of the Natural Products Association) and Herbs, Etc. (member of the American Herbal Products Association) are voluntarily beta-testing the registry ahead of its anticipated public launch in October at The Conference.
“The product registry is a potential game-changer for our industry and we’ve been grateful to see the enormous amount of support from so many in the industry, including both member companies and non-member companies, as well as some major retailers who have expressed strong interest in how it might eventually help them decide what to put on their shelves,” said Steve Mister, CRN President & CEO.
“In addition, we have continued a dialogue with FDA as our hope is the Supplement OWL will ultimately provide the agency with an additional regulatory tool. We’ve gotten substantive input from our working group every step of the way, and the beta-testing will provide an additional layer of feedback to help ensure this registry is manageable for all companies who want to raise the bar for our industry. We’re grateful for the insights of the working group and for those companies who have volunteered to take the Supplement OWL for a test drive.”
Mister told us that the beta-testing companies were carefully selected to represent the various sectors of the industry, including manufacturers and retailers (GNC), mass manufacturers (NBTY, Pharmavite), players in the natural channel (Garden of Life, FoodState), and direct sellers (Herbalife).
Two tier system
A two-tiered registry is being planned: Tier one is basic product information which will be accessible to anyone and will permit participating manufacturers/marketers to add their products at no charge. The information will include details about the product, including ingredients, brand name, allergen statements, number of servings and more.
Tier 1 will also require companies to provide manufacturing and packaging facility contact information accessible only to FDA, and will generate a unique product identifier for each product.
Tier two will involve a fee and allow a company to provide more in-depth information about the products, including, for example, uploading supporting documentation for a sustainability program, third-party cGMP documentation, product specifications. Access to this additional information will be restricted to select audiences, such as regulators and retailers.
“We envision tier 2 to be most valuable for manufacturers interested in sharing technical information and other quality-focused commitments with retailers seeking a streamlined process to help them evaluate products they are interested in putting on their store or virtual shelves,” said Duffy MacKay, ND, CRN’s senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs.
Encouraging companies to participate
CRN anticipates companies will be able to begin inputting their product labels into the registry as early as Nov. 1, and CRN members will be required as a condition of CRN membership to input all their dietary supplement product labels and accompanying information in Tier 1 into the Supplement OWL by the end of July 2017.
Mister confirmed that the association is working on an educational and marketing plan for the Supplement OWL around what it does, and what it doesn’t do, as well as working with retailers.
“We’re looking for the other trades to endorse it and encourage their members to be a part of it,” he said.