Organic Mislabeling: Coming Clean

By | August 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm | 2 comments

Lately it seems that everything is labeled organic. In fact, lotions, make-up, lip balms, shampoos, and conditioners are almost expected to display the seal of organic approval proudly; and in the most visible place possible, if they want to compete with the growing organic business competition in the beauty industry.

As loyal conscious consumers we should be able to trust that companies have our best interests in mind when cultivating the ingredients for the perfect beauty elixir. But, the truth is, we can’t. At least not all of them, and certainly not in a market where unclear regulations are upheld to ensure that what is being handed from manufacturer to consumer is what it is presented to be.

In 2009, the USDA National Organic Standards Board 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.

This is great, but unless the product specifically reads, ‘USDA Organic,’ the word ‘organic’ may be used without discrepancy and that is exactly what is happening right now. Trusted alterative companies like Avalon Organics, Nature’s Gate Organics and Giovanni’s Organic are just a few of the brands claiming to have organic ingredients without the USDA seal of organic approval (which means there is no way to ensure what you are buying is actually organic).

According to the Organic Consumers Association, 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.

Alongside The Story of Stuff Campaign and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the Organic Consumers Association is taking necessary action to stop organic labeling fraud on beauty products. Already, Whole Foods has agreed to remove all products that are mislabeled until companies that falsely present their products as “organic” agree to make the necessary alterations to their products.

Until more grocery, drug and specialty stores join the opposition against organic mislabeling and remove these products from their shelves, the accuracy of the word “organic” should be questioned. Look for the USDA organic seal when purchasing products that claim to have organic ingredients. If it doesn’t have the seal, check and make sure the product has organic ingredients listed (not synthetic components) before buying. Other ways you can stay informed and take action:

List of Stores where Organic Cosmetics Integrity Policies are Upheld

Take Action NOW to stop Organic Fraud in the Health and Beauty Isle


  1. Candice Lindsey (7 years ago)

    This is great information and I will share it with friends. Is there any way to help push for better regulations? Write our congressman, etc…..?

  2. Jimmy Wong (6 years ago)

    it doesn’t look like this is going to stop anytime soon…


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