Whole Foods Takes a Stand Against Faux Organic Claims on Body Care
Whole Foods Market is making its suppliers aware of its "Position on ‘Organic’ Personal Care Products." In the statement, WFM promises "to continue to closely examine all organic label claims to ensure that they are not misleading, and we will strongly encourage our suppliers who are making organic claims to pursue NOP certification. WFM explains:
"Products making an "Organic" product claim (e.g. Organic Shampoo," "Organic Body Wash.") should be certified to the USDA NOP standard. …
"Products making "Made with Organic ______" claims should be certified to the USDA NOP standard, which is the best possible certification for "Made with" label claims.
"Products making "Contains Organic _______" claims should be certified to the NSF Organic Personal Care standard.
"Any ‘Organic’ claim on the front of the label should be substantiated by certification to one of the above standards, including the use of the word ‘organic’ in the brand name. Products not certified to one of these standards may only use the word "organic" in the ingredients listing. We are currently working with our suppliers to transition their label claims to the above standards. Because these changes will be pervasive and complicated, we have not yet determined a timeline, but expect to do so in the near future."
FDA Warns Companies to Certify Organic Claims on Cosmetics to USDA Standards
On March 8, 2010, the FDA issued a Q&A about organic cosmetics. It warns companies that make organic claims to follow the USDA organic regulations.
"Cosmetic products labeled with organic claims must comply with both USDA regulations for the organic claim and FDA regulations for labeling and safety requirements for cosmetics."
JASON Drops False “Pure, Natural & Organic” Claim, Kiss My Face No Longer “Obsessively Organic”
While stores and online retailers are still selling products under the old labels, two targets of the Organic Consumers Association’s Coming Clean campaign for organic integrity in personal care have chosen to drop their use of the word "organic" in the tag lines of products that aren’t certified to USDA standards.
JASON, which carried the tag line "Pure, Natural & Organic," will now be advertised as "Everyday Natural Care." Kiss My Face has dropped its "Obsessively Organic" product line.
So are JASON and Kiss My Face allies in the cause to stop false organic claims? Not quite.
The news about JASON came in a press release by its parent company Hain Celestial. The release announced Hain’s "strong support" for the National Organic Standards Board recommendation of November 5, 2009, "Solving the Problem of Mislabeled Organic Personal Care Products." However, the same release stated that there would be no change in the marketing or formulations of Avalon Organics products, also owned by Hain.
Organic Consumers Association learned about the changes at Kiss My Face at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York City last week. After a marketing presentation by Kiss My Face co-owner/founder Bob MacLeod who described how he and his partner market their organic values through their products, OCA Political Director Alexis Baden- Mayer stood up to ask, "You lead an "obsessively organic" lifestyle, but your Obsessively Organic product line isn’t certified and doesn’t meet USDA organic standards. How do you justify this to consumers?"
MacLeod at first said there was no "Obsessively Organic" product line at Kiss My Face and then corrected himself to admit that it was stopped two years ago, but might still be available from some retailers.
Unfortunately, a quick look at the Kiss My Face Web store reveals that the company is still putting organic marketing claims above certification and integrity. The sponsored link to the Web store announces, "Official Online Store. Full Line of Organic Personal Care Products!" A search for "organic" on the site turns up "organic" lipsticks, moisturizers, and hair care products that contain certified organic ingredients, but are not certified to USDA standards because they don’t have enough organic ingredients and contain non-organic and synthetic ingredients that are prohibited in organic.