Sham "Organic" Shampoo – Dubious Labels on Personal Care Products

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The tremendous growth of the organic market has unfortunately fostered the growth of some fishy organic claims. In the organic food sector, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has strict standards, and organic certifiers are generally good about validating organic label claims.

But when it comes to personal care products, USDA has failed to establish national standards. As a result, there are now dozens of hair products, soaps, bath and baby products and other personal care items labeled “organic,” despite little evidence that many of these products contain significant quantities of organic ingredients.

A CEH investigation has found several major personal care brands which we believe are misleadingly labeled as “organic,” contrary to California’s organic labeling rules. Some of these products include:

In each case, the product uses the term “organic” on the front panel of the label. Yet in each case, the ingredients list shows few or no organic ingredients in the products.

If you have purchased any of these products, contact CEH, charles@ceh.org or 510-655-3900×305, to learn more.

We appreciate companies using organic ingredients – which creates markets for organic farmers and helps push agriculture away from destructive, pesticide-based practices. But consumers need to know that the organic labels they see in stores are reliable and consistent. And companies who truly go the distance by using significant amounts of organic ingredients should be able to differentiate their products, by prominent use of the term “organic.”

If anyone can use “organic” on their label, whether their product contains a bulk of organic ingredients or not, the organic label becomes meaningless. And that harms the entire organic sector.

Contact CEH, charles@ceh.org or 510-655-3900×305, if you have purchased any of these products and want to learn more.

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