Coming Clean, Sludge Scandals, and More


#218, April 5, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins


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Quote of the Week

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places (and there are so many) where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

-Howard Zinn, patriot, historian, and author



Victories of the Week: OCA's Coming Clean Campaign for Organic Integrity in the Health and Beauty Aisle

Whole Foods Takes a Stand Against Faux Organic Claims on Body Care

Whole Foods Market is making its suppliers aware of its "Position on 'Organic' Personal Care Products." In the statement, WFM promises "to continue to closely examine all organic label claims to ensure that they are not misleading, and we will strongly encourage our suppliers who are making organic claims to pursue NOP certification. WFM explains:

"Products making an "Organic" product claim (e.g. Organic Shampoo," "Organic Body Wash.") should be certified to the USDA NOP standard. ...

"Products making "Made with Organic ______" claims should be certified to the USDA NOP standard, which is the best possible certification for "Made with" label claims.

"Products making "Contains Organic _______" claims should be certified to the NSF Organic Personal Care standard.

"Any 'Organic' claim on the front of the label should be substantiated by certification to one of the above standards, including the use of the word 'organic' in the brand name. Products not certified to one of these standards may only use the word "organic" in the ingredients listing. We are currently working with our suppliers to transition their label claims to the above standards. Because these changes will be pervasive and complicated, we have not yet determined a timeline, but expect to do so in the near future."


FDA Warns Companies to Certify Organic Claims on Cosmetics to USDA Standards

On March 8, 2010, the FDA issued a Q&A about organic cosmetics. It warns companies that make organic claims to follow the USDA organic regulations.

"Cosmetic products labeled with organic claims must comply with both USDA regulations for the organic claim and FDA regulations for labeling and safety requirements for cosmetics."


JASON Drops False "Pure, Natural & Organic" Claim, Kiss My Face No Longer "Obsessively Organic"

While stores and online retailers are still selling products under the old labels, two targets of the Organic Consumers Association's Coming Clean campaign for organic integrity in personal care have chosen to drop their use of the word "organic" in the tag lines of products that aren't certified to USDA standards.

JASON, which carried the tag line "Pure, Natural & Organic," will now be advertised as "Everyday Natural Care." Kiss My Face has dropped its "Obsessively Organic" product line.

So are JASON and Kiss My Face allies in the cause to stop false organic claims? Not quite.

The news about JASON came in a press release by its parent company Hain Celestial. The release announced Hain's "strong support" for the National Organic Standards Board recommendation of November 5, 2009, "Solving the Problem of Mislabeled Organic Personal Care Products." However, the same release stated that there would be no change in the marketing or formulations of Avalon Organics products, also owned by Hain.

Organic Consumers Association learned about the changes at Kiss My Face at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York City last week. After a marketing presentation by Kiss My Face co-owner/founder Bob MacLeod who described how he and his partner market their organic values through their products, OCA Political Director Alexis Baden- Mayer stood up to ask, "You lead an "obsessively organic" lifestyle, but your Obsessively Organic product line isn't certified and doesn't meet USDA organic standards. How do you justify this to consumers?"

MacLeod at first said there was no "Obsessively Organic" product line at Kiss My Face and then corrected himself to admit that it was stopped two years ago, but might still be available from some retailers.

Unfortunately, a quick look at the Kiss My Face Web store reveals that the company is still putting organic marketing claims above certification and integrity. The sponsored link to the Web store announces, "Official Online Store. Full Line of Organic Personal Care Products!" A search for "organic" on the site turns up "organic" lipsticks, moisturizers, and hair care products that contain certified organic ingredients, but are not certified to USDA standards because they don't have enough organic ingredients and contain non-organic and synthetic ingredients that are prohibited in organic.




Take Action: Tell Hain Celestial and Kiss My Face to Come Clean

Hain Celestial and Kiss My Face, two companies that have been defrauding consumers by offering "organic" health and beauty products that don't meet USDA standards, are beginning to clean up their act.

Let's give them a little encouragement:

Thank HC for dropping JASON's "Pure, Natural & Organic" tag line, then ask them to give their Avalon Organics brand a makeover with new formulations that could actually be certified organic:

Thank Kiss My Face for losing their "Obsessively Organic" product line, and suggest that they reformulate the products that they advertise as organic so that they can be certified to USDA standards:



OCA Needs Your Help to Spread the Organic Revolution


OCA and our international network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to get out our all-important message we need your support. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today.



Ask Legendary Chef Alice Waters to Oppose Growing Food in Toxic Sludge!


Take a Stand Against Spreading Toxic Sludge on Gardens and Farms

Legendary organic chef Alice Waters is an outspoken opponent of using genetically engineered foods. OCA has asked her to take the same strong stand opposing the use of toxic sewage sludge to grow food. The City of San Francisco in the Bay Area where she lives has been deceptively giving away toxic sludge to gardeners and farmers, calling this hazardous material "organic biosolids compost." We want Alice, as the founder of the famous Chez Panisse Restaurant, to add her powerful voice to the fight to stop using gardens and farms as dumps for toxic sewage sludge.

It is especially important because the Executive Director of Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Foundation is Francesca Vietor, who is also the Vice President of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the agency that has been giving away tons of toxic sludge and deceiving recipients.

The Chez Panisse Foundation promotes Edible Schoolyard's organic gardens. Obviously its Executive Director, who was appointed to the PUC in 2008 by the Mayor of San Francisco, is conflicted on this issue. She is working for both Alice Waters' Foundation and for the Public Utilities Commission and the Mayor. Mayor Newsom calls the sewage sludge "very healthy and safe."

Neither Alice Waters nor her foundation have ever made a public statement flatly opposing the growing of any food in toxic sewage sludge.

Join us in asking Alice Waters to publicly oppose growing food in toxic sewage sludge.



Obama Recess-Appoints Biotech & Pesticide Lobbyist as Chief Agricultural Negotiator


Here's some bad news. Obama has recess-appointed Islam Siddiqui (the biotech/pesticide lobbyist he nominated for chief agricultural negotiator). His confirmation was on hold in the Senate all this time, so he hasn't been in the government making trouble. But now he will be.



Video of the Week: "Food For Thought: Understanding Labels"



Little Bytes


Livestock, Climate Change and a Mediocre Media
"Where will the food for increased numbers of future livestock come from? How many rainforests does it take to preserve every American's right to a Big Mac?" READ MORE

Marijuana Legalization on the CA Ballot: Separating Fact from Fiction
Here are three commonsense reasons to dump decades of failed marijuana prohibition. (Spoiler alert: Billions of dollars in new state revenue isn't one of them. That's just gravy.) READ MORE

Rural Pennsylvania Township Wins First Round of Sludge Fight Against Attorney General
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has ruled against the State's Attorney General and in favor of Packer Township - a rural Carbon County Township which has banned corporate sewage sludge spreading within their municipality. READ MORE

Go Green in the Bathroom
Is it time to put your skin on an organic diet? Soap, shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, cosmetics and other personal care items are full of chemicals, some of which are toxic. Absorbed through the pores, these chemicals enter the bloodstream. READ MORE




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Message from our Sponsors

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