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What Does Organic Mean?

What does “Organic” mean?

That depends. In a general sense, it refers to living things produced in a natural environment without the aid of man-made synthetics. In the US, a food product called “organic” legally must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not counting added water and salt. Unfortunately, a non-food product, such as a body care product has no such legal requirements. It can contain just about anything, including chemical preservatives, fragrance oils, detergents and other synthetic ingredients.

Would it be fair to assume that a product that’s called “100% Organic” is truly organic?

You’d think so, but—no. For example, here are some ingredients found in a product that’s described as “100% Organic”: sodium cocoyl glutamate, oleamidopropyl betaine, polyglyceryl-4 caprate, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate...these ingredients are in no way organic. Caveat emptor: buyer beware.

What about "organic" body care products in health food stores, natural supermarkets, drugstores and giant online and big box retailers—they’re subject to some sort of regulation, aren’t they?

Not at all. Check out this statement from Utne Reader:

Many products sold as “natural” or “organic” are virtually identical to the chemical [products] you can buy at any drugstore. “We are talking about nothing short of rampant labeling fraud,” says Ronnie Cummins, the national director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Unfortunately, because the government failed to step in and enforce the federal organic law, for years the marketplace has been flooded with synthetic chemical personal care products that are masquerading as organic. Some manufacturers of synthetic personal care products even go so far as to use the word “organic” in their company names and use the phrase “certified organic” on their packages, web sites and catalogs. This is just plain wrong.

Even before the initial implementation of the organic regulations in the USA back in 2002, the international cosmetic industry was working on various strategies to cash in on the growing consumer interest in the developing organic marketplace. Various large companies from around the world strategically joined forces with their retail partners, some of their ingredient suppliers and other invested parties to concoct various labeling schemes to label their products using the words “natural” or “organic.” The industry and their partners heavily promoted these numerous "standards" thereby confusing consumers about what true organic really means.

With so many marketing dollars utilized to promote so many "organic" and "natural" standards, the cosmetic industry's ruse was enormously successful. Today, sadly, most consumers have little understanding of what true organic is supposed to represent and many confuse the word "natural" with organic. Adding to the confusion, the word "natural" has intentionally been rendered essentially meaningless as global corporations and their lobbyists have insured that the word natural is without any legal definition. The giant corporations are aware of the consumer's strong interest in natural, organic, sustainable, green, eco, etc. products and the lack of a legal definition of "natural" offers them many opportunities to exploit the word in many product categories for substantial profits.

Yikes! I want truly organic personal care products but I don't have the time to research everything I put onto my body. What can I do?

As a small, honest company that was one of the first companies in the world to earn official organic certification for our artisan crafted, small batch products, we will share what we've been telling intelligent people for years: Read your ingredient labels! When you look at the ingredient list, ask yourself if that list reads like a recipe in your organic cookbook. Are all of the ingredients simple certified organic botanical plants—herbs, oils, butters—beeswax, or minerals/clays, baking soda or salt? If the product has a scent does the ingredients list spell out the organic essential oils or list an organic aroma blend? Hopefully the ingredient list doesn't include "natural fragrance," "fragrance" or perfume or parfum! If an ingredient looks like a chemical, it is one! Lastly, would you eat that synthetic ingredient or feed it to your children?

Way back when we started our company in 1991, we followed the outline set forth in the Organic Foods Production Act to formulate our range of products to conform with the rules for organic foods. After having experienced cancer and radical chemo and nearly losing my life, we researched the materials and processes used to make the conventional personal care chemicals and their downstream effects and determined that we did not want such chemical products in our home or rubbed into our bodies, or wash them down the drain into our waterways. Thus, today you can take advantage of our years of research and formulation and enjoy our super natural and delicious handcrafted personal care products. Our range of face, body and hair care products is a superior line of organic necessities that will care for your face and hair and body without worry and with daily delight. And go ahead, check out our ingredients! Lovely lists of organic and truly natural ingredients—beautiful gifts provided by Mother Nature herself to care for you and all of Earth's children!
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