Organic Consumers Association and Certified Organic Brands File Federal Complaint With USDA Against Organic Personal Care 'Cheater Brands'

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Alexis Baden-Mayer 202-744-0853, alexis@organicconsumers.org
Ronnie Cummins 218-349-3836, ronnie@organicconsumers.org

Organic Consumers Association and Certified Organic Brands File Federal Complaint With USDA Against Organic Personal Care 'Cheater Brands'

WASHINGTON - The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), along with
certified organic personal care brands Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps,
Intelligent Nutrients, and Organic Essence, today filed a complaint with
the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), requesting an investigation into
the widespread and blatantly deceptive labeling practices of leading
“Organic” personal care brands, in violation of USDA NOP regulations. To
view the complaint, go to: http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare

The complaint, filed collectively on behalf of 50 million consumers of
organic products, argues that products such as liquid soaps, body washes,
facial cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizing lotions, lip balms,
make-up and other cosmetic products produced by twelve different
corporations have been advertised, labeled and marketed as “Organic” or
“Organics” when, in fact, the products are not “Organic” as understood by
reasonable consumers.

“Unfortunately, the hands-off regulatory approach by the USDA's National
Organic Program during the Bush years failed to protect consumers from
deceptive labeling in the personal care marketplace,” said Ronnie Cummins,
Executive Director of the Organic Consumers Association. While the USDA
enforces strict standards for the labeling of organic food, the NOP has
not enforced the organic regulations in regards to personal care. “Given
the increased resources and staffing at the National Organic Program under
Obama, we’re optimistic that the situation will be rectified before too
much more damage is done.” added Cummins.

“Consumers who pay a premium for high-end organic products expect the main
cleansing and moisturizing ingredients of a product labeled “Organic” to
be made from certified organic agricultural material produced on organic
farms, and not from petrochemicals or pesticide and herbicide-intensive
conventional farming,” explains Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Intelligent
Nutrients (and founder and previous owner of Aveda Corp.)

The corporations named in the complaint are The Hain Celestial Group,
Inc.; Kiss My Face Corporation; YSL Beauté, Inc. (“YSL”); Giovanni
Cosmetics, Inc. (“Giovanni”); Cosway Company, Inc. (“Cosway”); Country
Life, LLC (“Country Life”); Szep Elet LLC (makers of Ilike Organic Skin
Care); Eminence Organic Skin Care, Inc.; Physicians’ Formula Holdings,
Inc. (makers of Organic Wear); Surya Nature, Inc.; Organic Bath Company,
Freeman Beauty Division of pH Beauty Labs, Inc. (makers of Freeman
Goodstuff Organics).

David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, stated, “Yesterday
we re-filed our lawsuit in federal court against culprit companies under
the Lanham Act for false advertising. One way or another, the era of
ripping off organic consumers in personal care will soon come to an end.”

Ellery West, founder and owner of Organic Essence adds, “The predatory
marketing practices of companies that take advantage of consumer trust in
the organic label are cheating not only organic consumers but also small
certified companies like ourselves.”

On November 5, 2009, the USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
formally recommended that the National Organic Program regulate personal
care to ensure that any use of the word "organic" on a personal care
product is backed up by third-party certification to USDA organic
standards. Immediately following the recommendation, the OCA launched a
consumer boycott of the major “Organic” cheater brands, and has produced a
list of USDA certified organic brands that are true to their claims and
are safe for Organic consumers.

For more information on the Organic Consumers' Association's Coming Clean
campaign, go to: www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare

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The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

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