Organic Consumers Association


CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671

March 3, 2003 Zoe Mitchell 202-986-6186


OCA Demands Strong Organic Standards for Cosmetics

Various "Natural" Body Care Manufacturers Attempting to Water Down Standards

ANAHEIM, CA- The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is launching a campaign to ensure rigorous standards for "organic" body care at the Natural Products Expo West, March 6-9. Currently, various body care companies and interests are looking to gut the organic standards for body care so as to make them meaningless, pressuring the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) to codify extremely weak watered-down standards.

These companies falsely claim that "organic" floral waters are somehow key functional components of their products. 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 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 "50 or 70% organic ingredients" to mislead consumers into thinking that they are buying mostly organic products when they assuredly are not.

The OCA argues that organic body care standards should mirror organic food standards, which stipulate 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. 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 reasonably simple and 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 supported in this campaign by numerous progressive body care companies, such as Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, the largest soap company in the natural marketplace that plans to launch an organic line of soaps this summer, Terressentials, makers of fine organic cosmetic products, and the Green Products Alliance, a coalition of fifty-plus ecological body care companies headed by Vermont Soapworks.

    "Organic body care products, like organic food products, should be about sustainable agriculture, consumer and farm-worker health, and ecological processing methods," says OCA Executive Director Ronnie Cummins. "They should not be defined by a wishy-washy, watered-down set of standards that affords another marketing shtick for conventional body care products." The OCA is a grassroots nonprofit organization concerned with food safety, organic farming, sustainable agricultural, fair trade and genetic engineering.


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