Supplement OWL shows that there’s now a real willingness to be transparent with consumers: CRN

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

Companies large and small have been beta-testing the CRN’s product registry – the Supplement Online Wellness Library (Supplement OWL) – and it will soon be open to all dietary supplement companies, but where are things right now and why should companies engage?

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at SupplySide West 2016, Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, ​said: “The Supplement OWL is an online registry of finished dietary supplement products. Regulators, retailers, industry stakeholders, and even consumers will be able to look at product label, evaluate the product by doing searchers. If they want a particular ingredient, they can search by ingredient or by brand name. This will allow them for the first time to compare products in the marketplace.”

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.

“One of the unique things is that the responsibility of the Supplement OWL is that the responsibility for keeping the information current lies with the marketer of the product,” ​said Mister. “If the product is withdrawn from the market, they’ll be able to withdraw that label from the registry. If a product is updated, they will be responsible the new formulation and label out there.”

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.

Such an initiative may not have been so widely supported five years ago, which is an interesting comment on where the industry is today.

Mister said: “The industry is maturing and with that comes with additional acceptance of responsibility to our consumers, additional outreach to our regulators and demonstrate that we are a robust and responsible industry. Now there is a real willingness and eagerness to be transparent with consumers.”

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