Coming Clean Campaign

Campaigning for Organic Integrity

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BOYCOTT FAKE "ORGANIC" BRANDS

The following brands market their products as "organic," but they don't have enough organic ingredients to be USDA certified, and they use ingredients that would never be allowed in USDA certified products.

The links below go to each brand's entry in the Cosmetics Safety Database.

Compare Hazard Scores for Dr. Bronner's Products certified under USDA NOP vs. "Organic Cheater" Brand Products

BUY THESE CERTIFIED USDA ORGANIC BRANDS:
Coming Clean
Organic Personal Care
Toxins in Cosmetics and Household Cleaners
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Stop TransFair's “FairWash” of Personal Care Products!

OCA, Dr. Bronner's File Federal Trade Commission Complaint Against TransFair and Fair Trade Cheater Brands Avon and Hain Celestial

More COMING CLEAN NEWS

The Story of Cosmetics

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. government doesn't regulate cosmetics for safety, long-term health impacts or environmental damage. Many common cosmetics ingredients are harmful to people and the environment. Consumers can avoid toxic ingredients by using USDA certified organic cosmetics. The trouble is, while the USDA allows cosmetics to be certified organic, it doesn't require it. That's why, as this new Story of Stuff Project video, The Story of Cosmetics, points out, "On cosmetics labels, words like 'herbal,' 'natural,' even 'organic', have no legal definition. That means that anybody can put anything in a bottle and call it 'natural.' And they do!" The Organic Consumers Association's Coming Clean Campaign has been working to stop this fraud since 2004.

CONSUMERS TAKE ACTION: Ask the USDA National Organic Program to stop organic cosmetics fraud! Which local stores have Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policies? Ask retailers to adopt Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policies! Boycott fake "organic" brands! Buy USDA certified organic cosmetics!

RETAILERS TAKE ACTION: Are you ready to come clean? Adopt an Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policy.

Comming Clean LogoThe Coming Clean Campaign for Organic Integrity in the Health and Beauty Care Aisle

Checking a Shampoo LabelThe Organic Consumers Association's Coming Clean Campaign has been working to clean up the "organic" cosmetics industry since 2004. Unlike organic foods, many health and beauty products are falsely labeled as "organic". The goal of Coming Clean is to limit organic claims to personal care products that are certified to USDA organic standards.
How to avoid organic cosmetics fraud

The word "organic" is not properly regulated on personal care products (example: toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, etc.) as it is on food products, unless the product is certified by the USDA National Organic Program.

Due to this lax regulation, many personal care products have the word "organic" in their brand name or otherwise on their product label, but, unless they are USDA certified, the main cleansing ingredients and preservatives are usually made with synthetic and petrochemical compounds.

Look for the USDA organic seal on personal care products that claim to be organic. Although there are multiple "organic" and "natural" standards, each with its own varying criteria, the USDA Organic Standards are the "gold standard" for personal care products.

If you want a product that is totally organic, look for the USDA organic seal. If it doesn't have the seal, read the ingredient label to find out how many ingredients are truly organic and how many are synthetic.

Retailers, Are You Ready to Come Clean?

Will You Follow Whole Foods Market's Lead and Adopt an Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policy?

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), the nation's largest consumer group dedicated to organic integrity, is encouraging retailers to take action to address widespread organic labeling fraud in their health and beauty care aisles.

Many brands make organic claims on products whose main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients are composed in significant part of petrochemicals.

In June 2010, Whole Foods Market took a bold and meaningful step on behalf of organic integrity when it adopted a new requirement for its suppliers that will force major organic cheater brands to drop their bogus organic claims.

The new Whole Foods Market policy on the organic labeling of personal care products states:

"We believe that the 'organic' claim used on personal care products should have a very similar meaning to the 'organic' claim used on food products, which is currently regulated by the USDA's National Organic Program. Our shoppers do not expect the definition of 'organic' to change substantially between the food and the non-food aisles of our stores."

Whole Foods' new policy mandates that "Organic" or "Made with Organic Ingredients " claims must be certified under the USDA National Organic Program, just like food. A more limited "Contains Organic Ingredients" claim for personal care may be certified under the NSF ANSI 305 standard. Organic claims that are not certified, including "Organics" in branding, will not be allowed.

Brands were required to meet an August 1, 2010, deadline to explain how they would change their labeling or formulations to comply with the new standard. They have until June 2011 to be in full compliance. Brands that did not submit a plan to come clean are expected to be dropped from store shelves.

Retailers selling non-certified "organic" cosmetics face a choice. They can follow Whole Foods' lead and require truthful labels, or they can continue to enable organic fraud. Consumers will look unfavorably on retailers that duck responsibility and continue to profit from the organic cheater brands that rip off their customers.

What will your store do?

Retailers, Submit Your Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policy to OCA. Please click here.

Consumers, Does Your Local Store Have Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policy? Find out here!

Whole Foods Market's Policy on the Use of the Word "Organic" on Personal Care Products

We believe that the "organic" claim used on personal care products should have very similar meaning to the "organic" claim used on food products, which is currently regulated by the USDA's National Organic Program. Our shoppers do not expect the definition of "organic" to change substantially between the food and the non-food aisles of our stores. Accordingly, the following requirements apply to all personal care products which use the word "organic" in any way on the product label.

Scope: This policy applies to all cosmetic and personal care products sold at Whole Foods Market.

Timeline: We expect all products sold in our stores to be in full compliance by June 1, 2011. We expect each of our suppliers who are making an "organic" claim to submit their plans for compliance to us by August 1, 2010.

Please Note: Products for which "organic" is included as part of the brand name must be certified to the USDA NOP or NSF 305 standards.

Requirements & Examples:

1: Products making an "Organic" product claim

Examples: "Organic Jojoba Shampoo," "Organic Sea Mineral Body Wash"

Certification requirement: Must be certified to the USDA's National Organic Program standard for organic (>95%) products.

Documentation required: Suppliers must present an organic certificate, issued by a USDA-accredited certifier and showing certification to the NOP standard. The certificate must name the specific products being evaluated.

2: Products making a "Made with Organic ________" claim

Examples: "Made with organic oils," "Made with organic essential oils and botanical ingredients."

Certification requirement: Must be certified to the USDA's National Organic Program standard for Made With Organic (>70%) products.

Documentation required: Suppliers must present an organic certificate, issued by a USDA-accredited certifier and showing certification to the NOP standard. The certificate must name the specific products being evaluated.

3: Products making a "Contains Organic _______" claim

Examples: "Contains organic oils," "Contains organic aloe and rosemary."

Certification requirement: Must be certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Organic Personal Care Standard.

Documentation required: Suppliers must present certification documentation demonstrating current compliance with the NSF/ANSI 305 standard.

4: Products listing an organic ingredient in the "Ingredients:" listing

Example: "Ingredients: WATER, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE (ORGANIC ALOE VERA)...,"

Certification requirement: Organic ingredient must be certified to the USDA NOP standard.

Documentation required: Suppliers must present an organic certificate, issued by a USDA-accredited certifier and showing certification to the NOP standard. The certificate(s) must name the specific ingredient(s) being evaluated.

As noted above, we expect all products sold in our Stores to be compliant with these guidelines by June 1st, 2011.

Sham-Poo Protests

Protesters Dressed as Giant Shampoo Bottles Picket Trade Show Entrance

Expo ProtestIn March 2010, the Organic Consumer's Association held a protest outside of the largest annual gathering of the natural and organic products industry, the Natural Products Expo West. Members of the OCA picketed the entrance to the Expo using creative visual props including five-foot tall shampoo bottles to mock mislabeled "organic" products while distributing flyers to educate trade show participants about the lack of regulation in the organic personal care marketplace.

Legal Petition Urges FTC to Act on Deceptive 'Organic' Labeling

In March 2010, Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, and the Organic Consumers Association filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting action on the widespread and blatantly deceptive labeling practices of several "organic" personal care brands that do not comply with the National Organic Program (NOP).

A copy of the petition can be found at:
http://greenerchoices.org/pdf/FTC_personalcare_petition_Mar2010.pdf

The complaint, filed on behalf of the estimated 50 million consumers of organic products, urges the FTC to investigate and consider prohibiting the pervasive use of organic claims on personal care products that do not comply with the NOP.

"Consumers can be deceived and misled by the misuse of the 'organic' label on personal care products," said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director of Technical Policy at Consumers Union. "The Federal Trade Commission must act quickly and decisively to ensure consumers' ongoing trust in the 'organic' label for all products, including personal care."

To date, the FTC has not responded to the complaint.

Legal Complaint to Compel the USDA to Stop Organic Cosmetics Fraud

See right-hand column for complaint and exhibits.

In January 2010, the Organic Consumers Association, along with certified organic personal care brands Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Intelligent Nutrients, and Organic Essence, filed complaint with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) requesting action on the widespread and blatantly deceptive labeling practices of leading “organic” personal care brands, in violation of the federal organic law.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the estimated 50 million consumers of organic products, urges the USDA to regulate cosmetics as they do food. The complaint argues that, because of USDA inaction, products such as liquid soaps, body washes, facial cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizing lotions, lip balms, and make-up are advertised, labeled and marketed as “organic” or “organics” when, in fact, the products are not “organic” as understood by reasonable consumers.

In June 2010, the Organic Consumers Association submitted a letter to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), following up on the complaint submitted in January, informing the NOP that each of the relevant organic groups in the US, including the Organic Trade Association, Consumers Union, Cornucopia Institute and Whole Foods Market, have are united in favor of NOP regulation of organic personal care.

To date, the USDA has not responded to the complaint.

National Organic Standards Board Tells USDA: "Stop Organic Body Care Fraud!"

In 2009, the USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) passed a recommendation for "Solving the Problem of Mislabeled Organic Personal Care Products." The recommendation urges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) to make sure that any use of the word "organic" on a personal care product is backed up by third-party certification to USDA organic standards.

Currently, as the recommendation describes, "at a given retailer, one may find personal care products such as shampoos and lotions labeled as 'organic' with no clear standards or regulatory underpinning for the organic claim - and unless the product is specifically labeled as 'USDA Organic,' the word 'organic' may be used with impunity. Manufacturers of personal care products that contain organic ingredients are hindered by a thicket of competing private standards and confusion regarding the applicability of the NOP to their products. Transactions lack the regulatory clarity that applies under the NOP to food products that contain organic ingredients."

The Organic Consumers Association sees this recommendation as a preliminary victory for its Coming Clean campaign to rid store shelves of products that are falsely advertised as "organic." The USDA has long resisted policing the market for organic personal care products. Even USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, an advocate for organic agriculture, has expressed reluctance. In response to an OCA letter-writing campaign urging her to go after personal care products that are falsely advertised as organic she wrote, "The USDA regulates organic personal care products only if they are made up of agricultural ingredients. We have no standards for personal care products and have no plans to develop standards at this time."

Her statement is at once confusing and disappointing. Organic personal care products that are made up of agricultural ingredients are the ones that are most likely to be genuine USDA-certified products. It's the personal care products that are made from synthetic, petroleum-based ingredients that are falsely advertised as "organic" that we need her to regulate.

Furthermore, OCA doesn't want the USDA to create standards for organic personal care products. We just want them to enforce the current agricultural standards in personal care, like they do when conventional foods are mislabeled as organic.

Panic
Tired of companies and retailers selling bodycare products as Organic when they are not really Organic?
Take matters into your own hands:
1. Print Panic! This product is not organic! stickers here. (This PDF is set up to print 30 stickers on a sheet of Avery 48160 address labels.) Use where necessary to alert the public to this ongoing sham.
2. Ask your local store to stop selling products that are falsely labeled organic.
Print & deliver the Coming Clean Letter to Retailers.
Does Your Local Store Have Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policy? Find out here!
3. Take Action! Send this alert to the USDA and national retailers to stop organic bodycare fraud!
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COMPLAINT

Complaint To USDA Re: Organic Fraud In Cosmetics Sector

exhibits
Organic Cheater Brand Labels and/or Ads:
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