As US court bans fake organic beauty label, Soil Association celebrates genuine products with Organic Beauty Weekend
02 September 2013
The Soil Association’s Organic Beauty Weekend launches on 6 -8 September 2013 to highlight and celebrate genuine organic health and beauty products as part of Organic September. Despite calls from the Soil Association, the UK’s health and beauty industry continues to mislead consumers by making false claims for products labelled “organic” and “natural”.
Soil Association research has revealed many products labelled “organic” and “natural” available on the UK high street contain harmful ingredients found in antifreeze, floor cleaner, oven cleaner, car oil and ingredients banned in children’s food and toys. Products include Organix Brazilian keratine therapy shampoo, handwash from Faith in Nature and Creations Garden shampoo and conditioner (full list in notes). The Soil Association believes consumers are being misled and is calling on the health and beauty industry to use terms like ‘organic and ‘natural’ accurately or not at all.
In the US, a court injunction has prevented Organix hair products being sold in the state of California from 1 September 2013 because they were found to be misleading consumers. Organix hair products do not contain any organic ingredients. Under Soil Association organic standards, any cosmetic or beauty product sold as ‘organic’ must contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients. Organix hair care products remain on sale in the UK and worldwide and the Soil Association is calling for UK retailers to take action and stop this greenwash.
Georgina McLeod, Soil Association campaigns director said; “We found over ten misleading products in popular high street retailers - and this was just on a quick lunchtime trip to the shops. The problem is down to a lack of industry regulation, yet unfairly, consumers are paying the price. People expect more from these manufacturers and retailers. If you buy a beauty product labelled organic, you expect it to be just that. That’s why we’ve launched Organic Beauty Weekend, to showcase genuine organic products, made with the environment, health and fairness in mind.
“Organix products are misleading in every respect and the US court has seen through this. Misleadingly, they are called ‘Organix’, yet contain no organic ingredients. Furthermore, they are produced by a company called Vogue International that has nothing to do with Vogue magazine! Despite being banned in California, they continue to mislead consumers in the UK and other countries.”
Strict EU laws ensure any food product labelled organic meets legal standards and is independently certified by a recognised body. Currently, there is no EU regulation concerning the labelling of organic or natural beauty products. The only way consumers can be sure they are buying a genuine organic beauty product is to look for an official certification label, such as the Soil Association. Under Soil Association standards, to use the word organic in the product name, a product must contain over 95% organic ingredients, excluding water.
Organic Beauty Weekend (6 -8 September) will see nationwide events celebrating organic and natural health and beauty brands. Events include product giveaways, makeovers, facials and spa days. Further details can be found at www.soilassociation.org/organicbeautyweekend. As part of the wider Small Changes, Big Difference campaign Organic Beauty Weekend will be promoted via social media, with its own hashtag - #OrganicBeauty.
Notes to editors
1. List of products:
• Organix Brazilian keratine therapy shampoo, Moroccan argan oil conditioner and penetrating hair oil don’t contain any organic ingredients (contains dimethicone, hydrolysed keratin, polyquaterium, PEGs, DMDM Hydantoin).
• Faith in Nature handwash and others including the ‘organic chocolate shampoo’ claim to be organic but have no certification label.
• Creations Garden shampoo and conditioner claim to be organic but have no certification label (contains Contains DMDM Hydantoin, Ethylhexylglycerine, cetra, trimethyl, Polyquaterium).
• Pure Replenish shampoo is misleadingly labelled containing organic oils and contains parabens.
• Borealis Natural face scrub is misleadingly labelled as organic (contains only one organic ingredient).
• Bellapierre lipsticks are misleadingly labelled as organic.
• Tru Organics entire range is misleadingly labelled as organic.
• Greenscape entire range is misleadingly labelled as organic (contains polysorbate 20).
• Australian Organics entire range is misleadingly labelled as certified organic.
2. Non-organic ingredients we found in products labelled as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ but not certified:
• Non-natural Propylene Glycol (PG): active component in antifreeze, which might cause brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.
• Parabens: made from a petrochemical and has been linked with breast cancer, such as methylparaben.
• DMDM Hydantoin: this is a preservative that releases formaldehyde.
• Phthalates: used as an additive to PVC (polyvinyl chloride products to make them flexible, and to personal care products to make fragrances last longer. These have been banned from use in children’s toys, and can also be found in paint and packaging.
• PEGs - (polyethylene glycols): are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Found in oven cleaners. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases.
3. Genuine organic products have been checked by a qualified independent inspector and are certified by an accredited certification body. To demonstrate their independence certification bodies must be accredited by their national accreditation body (in the UK this is UKAS http://www.ukas.com/)or IOAS http://www.ioas.org/ You can trust products which are certified organic by a reputable certifier such as the Soil Association, or those certified to the international COSMOS standard. Anyone worried about whether a product really is organic should look for the Soil Association, COSMOS or other independent organic certifier’s logo. If you can’t find an organic product, look for products independently certified as natural, for example displaying the ‘COSMOS NATURAL’ logo. These are produced to similar, carefully defined standards as organic products but use natural, rather than organic, ingredients.
4. Soil Association certification standards allow products with 70% organic ingredients to be labelled as “made with xx% organic ingredients” or “XX% organic”, for a product to be labelled as “organic” it needs to contain 95% organic ingredients. For products where a permitted mined mineral (like toothpaste or a clay mask) takes the organic percentage of ingredients below 70% they should be labelled as “made with xx% organic ingredients” or “XX% organic”.
5. Organix US based hair care company – not UK based baby food company
6. The Soil Association Organic Beauty Weekend - 6-8 September. Coordinated by the Soil Association Organic Beauty Weekend offers an opportunity for organic and natural health and beauty brands, manufacturers, licensees and producers to engage with customers. There is a great deal of confusion around what constitutes an organic product and our aim over this weekend will be to help clear up some of this confusion, and to help consumers obtain accurate and reliable information. Part of the wider Small Changes, Big Difference campaign (#SmallChanges) the Organic Beauty Weekend will be promoted via social media, with its own hashtag - #OrganicBeauty and is an opportunity to engage with consumers and advise them what to look for when choosing organic.
7. List of events for Organic Beauty Weekend