Organic Consumers Association

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Lawsuit: Hain Celestial Misrepresents Products as Organic

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A federal class action claims The Hain Celestial Group misrepresents its Jason and Avalon Organics brand "personal care products" as organic when they actually contain less than 70% organic ingredients.

In the suit, filed in Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court, Rosminah Brown alleges that in September 2009, she purchased a Jason Ester-C Super-C Cleanser Facial Wash at a Whole Foods Market.

She said the front label of the product prominently stated that it was "Pure, Natural & Organic." But, she said, of the 19 ingredients listed, only one was actually organic, as revealed when one closely studies the ingredients listed on the back of the "pure, natural, organic" product.

By the company's own admission, only Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf gel is organic and it is not among the most prominent of the 19 ingredients, ranking ninth on the ingredient list, excluding water.

The products at issue are all intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed onto or otherwise applied to the human body and are, therefore, "cosmetics" under California law, the suit argues, and thus are governed by state laws regarding labeling of cosmetics.

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