Site Policies

Privacy Policy

Protecting your privacy is very important to us. The ODS public website is one of many sites at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and as such the policies that govern the website and other Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) websites also apply to this site.

The ODS public website links to other NIH sites, federal agency sites, and, occasionally, to private organizations. Once you leave the ODS public website, you are subject to the privacy policy for the site(s) you are visiting. We do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you during your visit to the ODS public website unless you choose to provide it to us. We do, however, collect some data about your visit to our website to help us better understand how the public uses the site and how to make it more helpful. We collect information from visitors who read, browse, and/or download information from our website. ODS never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to its mission and goals.

When visitors send email messages containing personal information to the general email box or via the Contact Us page, ODS staff responds to the letters and files them. Only designated staff members requiring access to the emails to respond may view or answer them.

Types of Information Collected

When you browse through any website, certain information about your visit can be collected. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following type of information about your visit:

  • Domain from which you access the Internet;
  • IP address;
  • Operating system and information about the browser used when visiting the site;
  • Date and time of your visit;
  • Pages you visited;
  • Address of the website that connected you to an NIH website (such as or; and,
  • Demographic and interest data.

We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and its various sections and to help make our site more useful to visitors. This information cannot be used to identify you as an individual.

How ODS Collects Information

The ODS public website uses Google Analytics to collect the information in the bulleted list in the Types of Information Collected section above. Google Analytics gathers information automatically and continuously. No Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is collected. ODS staff conducts analyses and reports on the aggregated data from Google Analytics and those reports are only available to the ODS staff who require this information to perform their duties.

Additionally, the ODS public website participates in the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), in which Google Analytics data is collected from websites across the Federal Government. For more information on DAP, please visit the DigitalGov websiteexternal link disclaimer.

ODS retains the data from Google Analytics, and ACSI survey results as long as needed to support the mission of the ODS public website.

How ODS Uses Cookies

The Office of Management and Budget Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologiesexternal link disclaimer allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.

When you visit any website, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected.

The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of web pages. Cookies from ODS web pages only collect information about your browser's visit to the site; they do not collect personal information about you.

There are two types of cookies, single session (temporary), and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

Session Cookies

We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1 — Single Session." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session web measurement and customization technologies."

Persistent Cookies

We use persistent cookies to enable Webtrends and Google Analytics to differentiate between new and returning ODS public website visitors. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to the ODS public website until they expire. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2 — Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."

How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources on the ODS public website. Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at link disclaimer. Please note that by following the instructions to opt-out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from the ODS public website.

How Personal Information Is Protected

You do not have to give us personal information to visit our site. However, if you choose to receive alerts or e-newsletters, we collect your name and email address to complete the subscription process.

If you choose to provide us with personally identifiable information, that is, information that is personal in nature and which may be used to identify you, through an e-mail message, request for information, paper or electronic form, questionnaire, customer satisfaction survey, etc., we will maintain the information you provide only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. If we store your personal information in a record system designed to retrieve information about you by personal identifier (name, personal email address, home mailing address, personal or mobile phone number, etc.), so that we may contact you, we will safeguard the information you provide to us in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. Section 552a).

If ODS operates a record system designed to retrieve information about you in order to accomplish its mission, a Privacy Act Notification Statement should be prominently and conspicuously displayed on the public-facing website or form which asks you to provide personally identifiable information. The notice must address the following five criteria:

  1. The legal authorization to collect information about you
  2. Purpose of the information collection
  3. Routine uses for disclosure of information outside of NIH
  4. Whether the request made of you is voluntary or mandatory under law
  5. Effects of non-disclosure if you choose to not provide the requested information

To request further information about the ODS privacy policy, please contact ODS at

Data Safeguarding and Privacy

ODS uses web measurement and customization technologies to help our websites function better for visitors and to better understand how the public uses the online resources we provide. All uses of web-based technologies comply with existing policies with respect to privacy and data safeguarding standards. Information Technology (IT) systems owned and operated by NIH, including ODS's systems, are assessed using Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) posted for public view on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website ( link disclaimer). NIH conducts and publishes a PIA for each use of a third-party website and application (TPWA) as they may have a different functionality or practice. TPWA PIAs are posted for public view on DHHS website link disclaimer.

Data Retention and Access Limits

ODS will retain data collected using the following technologies long enough to achieve the specified objective for which they were collected. The data generated from these activities falls under the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) General Records Schedule (GRS) 3.2external link disclaimer, Item 030 'System Access Records,' and will be handled per the requirements of that schedule.

How ODS uses Third-Party Websites and Applications

As part of the OMB Memo M-10-06, Open Government Directiveexternal link disclaimer, the government authorizes the use of a variety of technologies and social media options to communicate and interact with citizens. These sites and applications include popular social networking and media sites, open source software communities, and more. TPWAs are web-based technologies that are not exclusively operated or controlled by ODS or NIH, such as applications not hosted on a .gov domain or those that are embedded on ODS web pages. Users of TPWAs often share information with the general public, user community, and/or the third-party operating the website. These actors may use this information in a variety of ways. TPWAs could cause PII to become available or accessible to NIH and the public, regardless of whether the information is explicitly solicited or collected by NIH.

The following list includes some of the TPWAs we use and their purpose. NIH sometimes collects and uses PII made available through third-party websites. However, we do not share PII made available through third-party websites. Your activity on the third-party websites we use is governed by the security and privacy policy of those sites, which we have linked below. You should review the third-party privacy policies before using the sites and ensure that you understand how your information may be used. If you have an account with a third-party website, and choose to follow, like, friend, or comment, certain PII associated with your account may be made available to NIH based on the privacy policy of the third-party website and your privacy settings within that third-party website. Therefore, you should also adjust privacy settings on your account to match your preferences.

For any ODS TPWA that collects PII, the list below also includes details on the information ODS collects and how we will protect your private information.

Third-Party Websites and Applications

NIH conducts and publishes a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for each use of a third-party website as they may have a different functionality or practice. To learn more, visit the published PIAs at link disclaimer.

For more information on the uses of social and new media for which GSA has negotiated a federally-friendly Terms of Service Agreement, visit DigitalGov at link disclaimer.

To request further information about the ODS privacy policy, please contact ODS at


ODS has one main Facebook page — NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)external link disclaimer. The ODS Facebook page is managed by ODS staff members who post news and other items of interest to be consumed by the public. If you have a Facebook account, you can log in to your account to post comments, and 'like' the ODS Facebook page and individual entries. If you comment on the ODS Facebook page or click on the 'like' button, your PII will be visible to ODS staff and other Facebook site visitors. The amount of visible personal information displayed will depend on your own Facebook privacy settings. You can completely avoid displaying any PII by not creating a Facebook account, not posting comments, not clicking on the 'like' options, or interacting with ODS Facebook accounts in any way (i.e., private messaging, sharing ODS posts, etc.). ODS staff do not collect, use or disclose any information about visitors who comment or 'like' the ODS Facebook page. However, as a practice, comment moderator policy requires the removal from ODS Facebook pages of any comments that contain spam or are improper, inflammatory, off-topic or offensive. Repeat offenders may be subject to banning. The Facebook Privacy Policy is available at link disclaimer.


ODS uses Twitter to send short messages or 'tweets' to share information about ODS with you and respond to your comments and inquiries sent via Twitter to ODS. While you may read the ODS Twitter feed without subscribing to it, if you want to subscribe to (or follow) the ODS Twitter feed, you must create a Twitter account at https://twitter.comexternal link disclaimer. To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as your name, user name, password and email address. You have the option to provide additional personal information including a short biography, location or a picture. Most information you provide for a Twitter account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings at the website. ODS staff members monitor the number of subscribers and respond to comments and queries via Twitter, but the staff never takes possession of the personal information belonging to you as a Twitter follower. However, as a practice, comment moderator policy requires the removal from the ODS Twitter pages of any comments that contain spam or are improper, inflammatory, or offensive. The Twitter Privacy Policy is available at link disclaimer.


ODS posts videos on YouTube to make them available to the public via the NIH Office of the Director YouTube channelexternal link disclaimer. You do not need to register with either YouTube or Google (YouTube Owner) to watch NIH YouTube videos. When you watch videos, YouTube may record non-personally identifiable information about their site usage, such as channels used, videos watched, and data transfer details to improve its services. If you log on to the YouTube site before watching NIH videos, YouTube may associate information about your site usage with your YouTube account. If you log onto YouTube and comment on an NIH video, any personal information you included on your YouTube profile page will be visible to visitors who click on the comment field. If you do not log in before watching NIH videos posted on YouTube, you cannot comment on NIH videos and your site usage will not be associated with you or a YouTube account. The YouTube Privacy Policy is available at link disclaimer.

Granicus govDelivery Subscription Management

ODS uses Granicus govDelivery to send out newsletters and notices by email. If you wish to receive these emails, you may register to do so and provide your name and email address. If you do not wish to provide this information, you will not receive emailed newsletters and notices and instead may view these on the ODS public website. Granicus may provide ODS the information it collects from the email distribution including non-identifying information about the number of messages sent, clicks, and open rates. This information is password-protected and only available to ODS staff who require this information to perform their duties. ODS staff are responsible for the content of the emails that are sent and will monitor the data collected from Granicus. ODS will not record or use any PII collected in this way unless requested to resolve a problem and to perform official duties. The email subscriber lists are password protected by Granicus. Only the ODS staff who send or manage newsletters or notices via govDelivery and the staff members who monitor the results of email initiatives have access to the subscriber lists. Granicus never allows access to the subscriber lists to anyone outside of ODS for any purpose. For further details, see the Granicus govDelivery Subscriber/Participant Privacy Policyexternal link disclaimer.

Public Use Policy

Most of the information available from this site is within the public domain and unless stated otherwise, may be freely downloaded and reproduced, provided the content has not been changed or modified. When using information from this site, we do ask that you avoid creating the impression that the ODS is endorsing or promoting any particular product or service. At times the ODS site may contain documents or links to documents, such as full-text journal articles that may be copyright protected. Permission to reproduce copyrighted documents may be required.

ODS Events Guidelines

Please view the ODS Events Guidelines page for policies concerning in-person and virtual events.