UNPA endorses the Supplement OWL

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/monticelllo
© iStock/monticelllo

Related tags Supplement owl

The Supplement OWL is “an important and necessary first step towards transparency”, said Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) following his organization’s endorsement of the initiative.

The Supplement OWL​ (the Online Wellness Library) – the industry-wide, self-regulatory product label registry being spearheaded by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) – went live in April 2017.

The registry is intended to boost transparency in the industry by providing a more complete picture of the marketplace. It serves as a resource for regulators, retailers, and industry, and can be accessed by anyone using the internet.

The UNPA endorsement follows similar moves by the American Botanical Council,​ the Consumer Healthcare Products Association,​ and the Natural Products Association​.

Visibility and transparency

In a letter​ to CRN president and CEO, Steve Mister, Israelsen stated that the OWL is “a much-needed step forward in accountability to our various stakeholders [… and] is an important and necessary first step [toward] creating visibility and transparency for individual products and the companies that manufacture those products.”

“I sincerely hope that our member companies will give it the strongest consideration and that our members will participate,”​ wrote Israelsen. “I will continue to watch its progress and encourage companies to continue to become engaged.”

“Improving ourselves from within”

Mister said CRN was pleased to receive UNPA’s endorsement. “Since its conception, the registry has received tremendous interest, and, since its launch in April, companies now have the opportunity to get a real feel for how the registry will work. UNPA’s endorsement further illustrates an industry-wide desire to come together and improve ourselves from within,” ​said Mister.

“CRN is confident the Supplement OWL will soon serve as the go-to resource for regulators and retailers looking to examine and evaluate labels of products on the market. We look forward to UNPA’s members uploading their labels to the registry to demonstrate their commitment to industry transparency and accountability.”


CRN OWL logo

The Supplement OWL allows users to access the registry through the internet and to search product entries by brand name, ingredient, health category and a host of other options. The registry provides ingredient listings, serving sizes, a copy of the Supplement Facts box, and other information about the supplements.

A second tier includes additional 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.

Getting started with uploading labels involves a three-step process, beginning with outreach to UL, the global independent safety science company who is developing and administering the technology that drives the Supplement OWL, to learn what product and label information will need to be submitted. Then, companies can choose from four options to determine the best method to submit their labels: 1) electronic transfer from an existing IT system; 2) conversion from the ODS label database; 3) manual data entry; or 4) a third-party upload service.

For more information, click HERE​. 

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