by Kenyetta Greene (Celebrity MUA)
Consumers are very interested in organic foods and organic cosmetics. But organic cosmetics aren’t always what the seem. Unless they have the USDA Organic seal on them, the U.S. government has not certified that the products are organic. Many consumer groups are unhappy about this and are urging the USDA to get involved and investigate many of the fraudulent claims in the industry. MSNBC reports:
It’s the Wild West out there,” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Organization. “We want consumers to be able to trust the organic claim on a cosmetic product and not have a bunch of snake oil salesmen out there claiming to be organic when they are not.”
At Consumers Union, Urvashi Rangan, director of technical policy, describes the marketplace as a “free for all” where cosmetics that “contain loads of synthetic ingredients” are called organic. Right now, as long as the manufacturer does not use the “USDA Organic” logo, these claims do not have to be verified or certified.
“We’ve seen products that claim to be organic that don’t have one single organic ingredient in them,” Rangan says. “We’ve seen companies call themselves organic in their brand name and yet they are not certified as organic.” Consumer groups believe USDA has jurisdiction in this area. They have repeatedly asked the department to require personal care products making the “organic” claim to meet the same standards as organic food. But so far, USDA has refused.
The USDA says it has no jurisdiction over cosmetics and beauty products, but is considering consumer groups’ request to investigate egregious examples of fraud. If you are in the market for organic cosmetics, you really have two choices: look for the USDA Organic label, or do some research so you can be familiar with the ingredients listed on the package. Many cosmetics manufacturers do not want the USDA defining what is organic. Whole Foods supports the promulgation of federal standards for organic cosmetics and personal care products.
To learn more about the Organic Consumers Association’s campaign against fraud in organic cosmetics, visit the website.