What is the Supplement OWL?
The Supplement OWL® (Online Wellness Library)—the dietary supplement product registry—is an industry-wide, self-regulatory initiative that will help create a rich and more complete picture of the marketplace for regulators, retailers, and industry. The Supplement OWL will serve as a resource for these audiences to identify products, their ingredients and the companies who market them, and permit registry users to examine and evaluate labels and other product information.
Who is behind the Supplement OWL?
The Supplement OWLis a self-regulatory initiative of the dietary supplement industry. The Council for Responsible Nutrition is spearheading the effort, joined by the American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Natural Products Association, and the United Natural Products Alliance. UL, a global independent safety science company, provides the technology that drives the registry.
The Supplement OWL went live in April of 2017, with a benchmark 10,000 labels in April of 2018, growing as more companies get on board. In October 2017, an advisory board was appointed. The Supplement OWL Advisory Board is comprised of stakeholders from all corners of the supplement industry and provides a forum to discuss the forward progress of the OWL.
What kind of information will be in the Supplement OWL?
Supplement OWL entries include an image of the product, a complete product label, and various fields of information about the product such as: ingredients; dosage form; product claims from the label; and contact information. These records are available online for viewing by anyone using the Supplement OWL. Companies submitting their labels are also required to provide manufacturing and packaging facility contact information, accessible only to FDA, the regulatory body that oversees dietary supplement labeling. There is no cost to participate in the Supplement OWL.
The Commercial Data Exchange (CDX) feature of the Supplement OWL is a business-to-business portal that allows companies to upload additional information and supporting documents about quality practices for their products for a nominal fee. The CDX is designed to include documentation demonstrating compliance/adherence in key areas such as: evidence of third-party cGMP audit; finished product testing; and product attributes, including non-GMO, gluten-free, allergen-free, halal, kosher, etc. Companies can submit labels to the Supplement OWL first and later determine if they also want to participate in the CDX. More on the CDX...
Who can use the Supplement OWL?
The Supplement OWL is intended primarily as a tool for regulators and other stakeholders who want to learn more about products, their contents and their labeling information. While anyone with an internet connection may access the Supplement OWL, the Supplement OWL is not intended to be a marketing tool to consumers, nor is it a place where consumers can shop for supplement products. The Supplement OWL was created by the industry as a self-regulatory tool to provide a more complete understanding of the supplement marketplace and the range of products and ingredients. Although primarily for regulators, it is anticipated that retailers, the industry itself and other stakeholders will also find great value in the Supplement OWL.
When will companies be able to put their product labels into the Supplement OWL and when will it be available to the public?
The Supplement OWL went live—i.e., available for anyone with internet access—on April 27, 2017, and can be accessed directly here. The Supplement OWL has been accepting labels since January 2017. Companies industry-wide are encouraged to put their labels in and UL is ready to help you get started.