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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE���������������

CONTACT: Ronnie Cummins 218-349-3836

May 5, 2003����Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
This press release can also be downloaded as a text file here

The official complaint can be found here

 

Consumer Group Demands Investigation of �Organic� Company

Formal Complaint Against
Avalon Natural Products Filed
 

SACREMENTO, CA �Today the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed a formal complaint to the Director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture State Organic Program (SOP) and the California Department of Health Services, asking them to investigate the false organic claims made on over 30 body care products manufactured by Avalon Natural Products.

The OCA charges that Avalon Natural Products is violating regulations set forth by the National Organic Program and the SOP while deliberately misleading consumers. According to the OCA, Avalon Natural Products is: Counting the non-agricultural water of �Organic Floral Water��a glorified tea�as part of the organic content of their products; Using synthetic surfactants and preservatives in their products, some of which are based off of petroleum; Refusing to identify the organic certifying agency on the products� packaging; and Identifying products as �organic� on the front label although these products contain un-allowed synthetic ingredients and do not contain the minimum 70% organic content.

�If California allows hydrosol [i.e. floral water] to be considered an organic ingredient, it sets a precedent on a national level that could ultimately render the Organic Standards Act useless,� says Simon Harris, OCA National Campaign Director, �We are filing this claim because consumers have demanded stringent organic standards and we cannot ignore Avalon�s misleading tactics any longer,� adds Harris.

Avalon Natural Products is one of several body care companies in question with synthetic surfactant based products that proclaim �organic� by adding floral waters.These waters are claimed to somehow be key functional components of their products.However, hydrosols (versus water �extracts�) did not exist as an ingredient in body care formulations until companies started to use them to make fraudulent inflated organic claims.Not only is the presence of these waters largely insignificant and inconsequential, their actual organic content is extremely minimal since they are almost completely water.  Nonetheless, various so-called �natural� body care manufacturers, such as Avalon Natural Products, are using these waters to green-wash their products and make organic label claims, even though their formulations are in fact largely composed of the same conventional synthetic cleansers, conditioners and preservatives found in mainstream products.On the front panels of their products, these companies assert �70% organic ingredients� to mislead consumers into thinking that they are buying mostly organic products when they assuredly are not. 

The California Organic Standards Act of 2003 stipulates a mandatory 70 percent minimum weight of non-water/non-salt agricultural organic content in a product for a �Made with Organic� label claim to be made on the front panel, and expressly forbids synthetic ingredients not allowed under the federal NOP.The OCA has demanded that organic body care standards should mirror the standards for organic food products. This means that:

  • Certified organic agricultural feed-stocks are utilized exclusively, versus petroleum or conventional vegetable feed-stocks, in the manufacture of the key basic cleansing and conditioning ingredients.
  • Manufacture of such ingredients is ecological.
  • The toxicity of each ingredient is minimal. 
  • Non-agricultural water is not counted in any shape or form as contributing to organic content.

The OCA is a grassroots nonprofit organization concerned with food safety, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, fair trade and genetic engineering.

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ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION 6101 CLIFF ESTATE ROAD LITTLE MARAIS, MN 55614 USA

Telephone: 218-226-4164 Fax: 218-353-7652 email: info@organicconsumers.org

 
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Organic Consumers Association
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