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ABC Endorses Supplement OWL Dietary Supplement Product Registry

AUSTIN, Texas (April 3, 2017) - ABC is intending this ABC Member Advisory to communicate directly to those ABC members who are part of the herb and dietary supplement industry, specifically those who market branded botanical dietary supplement products. If you are one of the many ABC members who are not part of this group (e.g., researcher, educator, health professional, et al.), this Member Advisory is not intended directly for you.

On March 31, the American Botanical Council (ABC) sent to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), one of the leading dietary supplement industry trade associations in the United States, a letter endorsing the new Online Wellness Library (OWL; www.SupplementOwl.org), a self-regulatory initiative spearheaded by CRN for use by the dietary supplement industry to help create a more complete picture of the dietary supplement marketplace in the United States.

The OWL is a two-tiered registry containing information from the labels of dietary supplement products. Tier 1 includes an image of each supplement label and all of the information, including all ingredients, that appears on each label. There is no charge to the manufacturer/marketer to participate in Tier 1.

Other information may be voluntarily submitted by each dietary supplement manufacturer to appear in Tier 2 of the OWL, for what is being termed a nominal charge. 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.

The primary reason for the creation and maintenance of the OWL is to increase accountability and transparency in the dietary supplement industry by enabling public access to information on dietary supplement products sold in the United States. The primary audience for OWL includes regulators, retailers, and other members of the industry. Other audiences (consumers, health professionals, researchers, journalists, et al.) will also have access to view the information in Tier 1.

CRN has teamed up with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) for the development and curation of the OWL.

In the ABC endorsement letter to CRN President Steve Mister, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal wrote:

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.

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.

ABC encourages its members in the botanical and dietary supplement industry that market branded botanical dietary supplement products to participate in the OWL by submitting product information to the Supplement OWL through UL for inclusion.

More information about the Supplement OWL and how to participate is available from CRN by contacting Gisele Atkinson at gatkinson@crnusa.org (202-204-7671), from UL by contacting Erik Eberhart at erik.eberhart@ul.com (913-304-7841), or by visiting www.SupplementOwl.org.