The new finished product registry, developed by Underwriters Laboratory, will be known as the Supplement Online Wellness Library (Supplement OWL).
It’s been just over two months since the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC) announced Underwriters Laboratories (UL; Northbrook, IL) would be developing its new dietary supplement product registry, and now nine companies have begun voluntarily beta testing the registry. CRN has also decided to brand the new product database as the Supplement Online Wellness Library (Supplement OWL).
Seven CRN member companies are participating in the beta test, including FoodState, Garden of Life, Glanbia Performance Nutrition, Herbalife, NBTY, and Pharmavite (one of the CRN members in the beta test chose to remain anonymous at this time). In addition, the beta test also includes non-CRN members GNC and Herbs, Etc., members of the Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington D.C.) and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD), respectively.
“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,” says Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO. While CRN is providing the initial funding for Supplement OWL, an industry working group is providing feedback for the database and UL is developing and administering the registry.
As part of the beta test, which is designed to ensure the program is ready for its October launch, companies will test the process of entering new product information and evaluate the database’s search capabilities.
“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,” Mister says. "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 adds that CRN has maintained a dialogue with FDA in hopes of making the Supplement OWL an additional regulatory tool for the agency. CRN plans to unveil the registry at its annual regulatory event, The Conference, which will take place from October 26–29 in Dana Point, California. Companies will be able to begin inputting product labels into the Supplement OWL as early as November 1, CRN says.
As CRN has suggested in previous announcements, the registry will include two separate tiers of information at launch.
The first tier, which will be publicly accessible online at no charge, will include a copy of the complete product label for each product, as well as other product information, including brand name, ingredients, allergen statements, number of servings, and more. Participation in this tier is free for any company, with every product entered receiving a unique product identifier which may be useful to manufacturers, marketers, retailers, FDA, and consumers as the registry gains traction. Companies participating in the first tier will also have to provide contact information for manufacturing and packaging facilities of its products, which will only be accessible by FDA.
The second tier, meanwhile, is available only to select retailers and/or regulators on a “permission only” basis that the product manufacturer selects. In this tier companies can provide additional information to increase transparency for a “nominal fee,” such as additional documentation to support information provided in the first tier, and list other attributes about the product, including documentation for sustainability programs or third-party cGMP documentation. The second tier is designed to give manufacturers “significant support and time savings with managing information as well as requests from retailers and/or regulators,” according to UL and CRN.
“We envision this tier 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 of scientific and regulatory affairs.
While participation in the second tier is optional, all CRN members are required to input their dietary supplement product labels and accompanying information in the first tier of the Supplement OWL by the end of July 2017 as a condition of CRN membership.
Nutritional Outlook Magazine