“ABC has long advocated for various measures by nonprofit organizations and/or members of the botanical and natural products industries to increase sustainability, quality control, transparency, appropriate scientific and clinical research, and responsible communication about the activities and benefits of these ingredients as they are employed in consumer products,” wrote Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director, in a letter to Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the trade association spearheading the OWL.
“Based on the initial information we have observed about the proposed OWL, we believe that this new program, in principle, helps fill a vital need in the dietary supplement industry and extended community and the general public — for researchers, health professionals, regulators, members of industry, and consumers to gain relatively easy access to relevant information on specific commercial dietary supplement products in the US marketplace,” added Blumenthal.
The registry operates with two tiers: Tier 1 is basic product information is free for any company willing to supply the required information about its products and will be accessible online at no charge to the public. The information will include details about the product, including ingredients, brand name, allergen statements, number of servings and more.
Tier 2 will include other information that may be voluntarily submitted by each dietary supplement manufacturer. For example, manufacturers may choose to include information such as third-party cGMP certifications, product specifications, documentation of supply-chain and/or production sustainability programs, or other product credentials. Manufacturers have the option to determine who will have access permission to view the information submitted in Tier 2. This section will include a nominal charge.
“Increasing industry accountability and transparency”
In response to the endorsement, CRN’s Steve Mister said: “Today the American Botanical Council (ABC) stepped forward to endorse the Supplement OWL, encouraging its members who manufacture botanical and other dietary supplements to submit their product labels for inclusion in this new, industry-wide product registry. CRN appreciates ABC’s recognition that the Supplement OWL will increase industry accountability and transparency and will serve as an important resource for a variety of stakeholders, including regulators.
“ABC has an impressive history of executing and supporting educational initiatives designed to raise the bar for botanical products in the dietary supplement industry, including its work on a botanical adulterants program, a research and education consortium designed to increase quality and transparency in the herbal and natural products industry. We are gratified to know that ABC’s commitment to reducing mislabeling and the potential use of fraudulent ingredients in botanical dietary supplements extends to its endorsement of the Supplement OWL.
“In making its case for the importance of the Supplement OWL, ABC has taken a vital step toward helping the dietary supplement industry create a richer, fuller picture of the breadth and scope of the industry for regulators, retailers, and others who have an interest in our industry’s products. We encourage all companies in the dietary supplement industry to take notice of ABC’s leadership in this effort.”