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June 24, 2003 Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671

Coming Clean Campaign Challenges ‘Organic Sham-Poo’

Advertisements Educate Consumers About False Organic Claims on Cosmetics

LITTLE MARAIS, MN—The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is mounting a national advertising campaign to inform organic consumers about OCA’s new “Coming Clean” campaign for strict organic standards for cosmetics. Utilizing advertising in major magazines, weekly newspapers and on its website, OCA is increasing public awareness about so-called “natural” cosmetics manufacturers mislabeling their products as “organic,” that in fact are not.

The advertisement features “Sham-Poo,” a close approximation of the products in question, which claims to be “certified 70% organic.” Arrows pointing to the core ingredients elucidate the fraud of this claim: “Sham-Poo” consists mostly of synthetic surfactants - many of which are derived from petroleum - which are obscured by flowery feel-good sounding organic “floral waters” and/or “herbal infusions or extracts” that amount to flavored water. The ad explains: “A number of body care product companies are counting non-agricultural water as organic, to greenwash their products and make organic label claims, even though their formulations are largely composed of the synthetic cleansers, conditioners and preservatives found in mainstream products. This fraud is destroying the integrity of the organic label.”

The advertisements are running through fall 2003 in publications read by organic consumers and retailers including: Natural Food Merchandiser, Coop Grocer, Conscious Choice, Utne Reader, Mother Jones, Mothering Magazine, Natural Home, Vegetarian News and E Magazine. The website, /old_articles/bodycare, provides extensive research about “natural” cosmetics and information about the organic standards debate. It encourages organic consumers to take action by sending a ready-made fax to the Organic Trade Association and the USDA’s National Organic Program demanding that organic body care standards should mirror the standards for organic food products. In short, this would mean that:

• Certified organic agricultural feed-stocks (raw materials) 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. (Agricultural water is the naturally occurring water in a plant and is fine.)

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

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