Whole Foods Sets New Standard For Organic Beauty Products

Cosmetic companies have been throwing words like ‘herbal’,  ‘natural’, and ‘organic’ onto their products for years with no actual definition or standardized requirements to do so. Literally, anyone could put the word ‘organic’ on a beauty product, whether it actually was or not.

The Organic Consumer’s Association started their ‘Coming Clean‘ campaign back in 2004 and have been working diligently to weed out all illegitimate claims, limiting claims of ‘organic’ to be made only by products that have been certified by USDA organic standards. OCA’s mission recently received a huge boost with Whole Foods announcing themselves as the first and only national retailer to implement third-party-certification standards, ensuring that products that claim to be organic, really are.

Leading the fight on organic legitimacy is Jeremiah McElwee, global coordinator of Whole Foods’ Personal Care department who recently said,

“Believe it or not, there are no Federal laws that regulate how the word ‘organic’ can be used on personal care products. Our shoppers don’t expect the meaning of organic to change between store aisles, and neither do we. Our suppliers eagerly took on the challenge of making crucial ingredient and label changes. Thanks to their tremendous support, our shoppers can trust that all products in our I.S. stores labeled as ‘organic’ truly are.”

The national retailer undertook this daunting task in June of 2010. 2 years later, all personal care products of the shelves of Whole Foods are in compliance with the following standards:

  • Products making an “Organic” product claim – Must be certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) standard for organic (>95%) products. 
  • Products making a “Made with Organic [ingredient]” claim – Must be certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program standard for Made with Organic (>70%) products. 
  • Products making a “Contains Organic [ingredient]”claim – Must be certified to the NSF/ANSI305 Organic Personal Care Standard
  • Products listing an organic ingredient in the “ingredients.” listing – Organic ingredient must be certified to the USDA NOP standard.
Joe Dickson, Quality Standards coordinator for Whole Foods went on to say, “People have the right to know what’s in the products they’re using on and in their bodies. We’re confident that this first step for the industry will not only help shoppers make choices with more peace of mind, but also improve the integrity of the organic label in the body care aisle, curtail deceptive labeling claims, and substantially increase the use of certified USDA organic agricultural ingredients in personal care products.”