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Organic Consumers Association

Industry Creates New Bogus "OASIS" Organic Standard for Personal Care Products

  • Organic Consumers Association, 3/14/2008

The OASIS standard was spearheaded and created exclusively by conventional industry members like Estee Lauder (owner of Aveda), Loreal and Hain (Jason, Avalon), without any input or comment period from organic consumers, organic farmers or personal care companies who have achieved USDA National Organic Program certification for the majority of their products.

The OASIS standard allows a product to be labeled outright as “Organic” (rather than “Made with Organic Specified Ingredients”) even if it contains hydrogenated and sulfated cleansing ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate made from conventional agricultural material grown with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and preserved with synthetic petrochemical preservatives like Ethylhexylglycerin and Phenoxyethanol. [Reference: OASIS Standard section 6.2 and AntiMicrobial List]

Products certified under the OASIS standard must only contain 85% organic content, which means that “organic” water extracts and aloe vera will greenwash conventional synthetic cleansing ingredients and preservatives, since the water content of water/ detergent based personal care products like bodywashes and shampoos represents around 85% of the product. The OASIS standard is not merely useless but deliberately misleading to organic consumers looking for a reliable indicator of true “organic” product integrity in personal care.

Organic consumers expect that cleansing ingredients in products labeled “Organic” be made from organic not conventional agriculture, to not be hydrogenated or sulfated, and to be free from synthetic petrochemical preservatives.

OASIS claims to be the first U.S. “organic” beauty care standard. In actuality, the USDA National Organic Program has been certifying personal care products for over four years. This year, in particular, marks a watershed, because in 2008 there are more genuinely organic products on the market, bearing the “USDA Organic” seal on the front label than ever before.

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post Mar 15 2008, 02:21 PM

This is really a shame, it's just another way for the big corporations to mislead consumers.

They are unable to meet the food standard so they are creating a lower standard they can meet. This way the can continue to use inferior ingredients, and inexpensive chemical ingredients.

This is all about a way they can still charge a premium organic price at the same time misleading consumers and they can continue to have huge profit margins.

They are not willing to do what it takes, spend the time to create a truly organic product or spend the money that it takes to use quality organic ingredients.

Don't buy into the deception. It's a marketing ploy.


post Mar 17 2008, 11:04 AM

This is not surprising, not in the least. Any way to enrich themselves is just fine, no lie is too blatant, no deception too cunning, no cozenage too obscure, it's all in the pursuit of riches.

post Mar 22 2008, 03:24 PM

I sent emails to all of the companies listed letting them know that I will not be purchasing any products from them in future because I cannot trust their labeling practices. I suggest others do the same.

post Mar 25 2008, 10:06 AM

This is very disturbing. This is why it is so important for the USDA to also regulate personal body care, and general merchandise and not just food.
So what is the OCA going to do about it?

I've created a petition on if anyone is interested:

post Today, 07:30 AM

I am sorry, but you all have no idea what you are talking about. The USDA, FDA and FTC have done nothing in years to advance and in fact avoid the Organic Cosmetic Products world all together. Additionally, the USDA Organic Food certification has nothing to do with the food itself at all - just the process. Nothing about that certification says it is healthier, safer, or better - just processed that way.

For cosmetics around the world, there too are misleading and inconsistent standards Eco Cert, UK Soil Association, etc.. as well as food agencies who want know part - JSA in Japan.

So you tell me what is better, using a qualifier for food that has no bearing on safety or efficacy of ingredients, or an association of chemists (read their bio's not the company profile for these people) who know more about products and raw materials than anyone selling these products and especially existing government agencies, especially the USDA (they know ZERO about cosmetic ingredients, admittadly so)

Saying this is a business ploy disregards the fact that OASIS is an independent body to inflect self-regulation on ANY company who wants to meet set criteria in the better interest of the consumer.

In all, a USDA certified organic cosmetic product or cosmetic ingredient is meaningless. WAKE UP and educate yourself.