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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, the country's top selling natural soap brand, has upped the ante in its bid to clean up the rampant organic misbranding in personal care aisles. The family owned business filed its Second Amended Complaint today in San Francisco Superior Court against numerous personal care companies that use non-organic pesticide-intensive agricultural and/or petrochemical material to make the main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients of their misbranded "Organic" products. Defendants include, among others: Hain-Celestial (Jason "Pure, Natural & Organic; Avalon "Organics"); Levlad (Nature's Gate "Organics"); Kiss My Face "Organic"; YSL Beaute Inc (Stella McCartney's "100% Organic Active Ingredients"), Country Life (Desert Essence "Organics"); Giovanni "Organic Cosmetics"; and the certifiers Ecocert and OASIS.
Former defendant Estee Lauder was dropped from the suit because it has not in fact entered the market under its AVEDA brand with OASIS certified products as it had earlier threatened to do. Former defendant Ikove agreed to change its labeling practices of relevant products. However, the remaining defendants continue to refuse to abide by basic organic consumer criteria. Dr. Bronner's new complaint seeks damages in addition to injunctive relief, for false advertising under the federal Lanham Act, rather than simply the injunctive relief that Dr. Bronner's sought under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL). Filing under the federal Lanham Act also keeps the case on a straightforward track to trial for product misbranding and false advertising, instead of allowing it to be bogged down in an appeals court arguing whether lost revenues are "restitutionary" versus "compensatory" damages under the UCL. The entire Second Amended Complaint along with background on the case is posted online at:
The defendants' "Organic" or "Organics" products are composed mostly of cleansing and moisturizing ingredients that are not organic, but that are instead made from conventional agricultural and/or petrochemical material, with organic water extracts or aloe vera for an organic green-wash. "Organic consumers expect that the main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients in "Organic" or "Organics" products are in fact made from organic material, and are not simply conventional formulations with some organic tea on top. If defendants cannot live up to their organic claims, they need to drop those claims. The misleading organic noise created by culprit companies' labeling practices, confuses, misleads and deceives organic consumers who want to buy authentic organic personal care products, the main ingredients of which are in fact made with certified organic, not conventional or petrochemical, material, and are free of synthetic preservatives. " said David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.
Dr. Bronner's has made clear that for defendants to make outright "Organic" claims in branding or labeling (eg. "Organic Lotion" vs. "Lotion made with Organic Aloe Vera"), products must at minimum be 95% organic, without hydrogenating, sulfating or synthetically preserving ingredients; and the main cleansing ingredients must be derived from organic rather than conventional agricultural material. Dr. Bronner's products, in contrast to the brands named in the lawsuit, contain cleansing and moisturizing ingredients made only from certified organic oils, made without any use of petrochemicals, and contain no petrochemical preservatives.
Dr. Bronner's Ups Ante in Lawsuit Against 'Organic' Personal Care Cheaters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monetary Damages Now Sought from Remaining Defendants Alongside Injunctive Relief
Organic Consumers Asociation, July 1, 2009
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