For Immediate Release
Round One Legal Victory for Organic Consumers and Dr. Bronner's against "Organic Cheater" Personal Care Brands and Certifiers
SAN FRANCISCO - After hearing oral arguments earlier this month, the San Francisco
County Superior Court on Thursday Oct. 8th ruled that Dr. Bronner's
Magic Soaps can proceed with its lawsuit seeking to compel organic
cheater companies & certifiers to drop, or stop certifying,
deceptive organic label and brand claims. Culprit brands include
Avalon "Organics", Jason "Pure, Natural & Organic", Nature's Gate
"Organics", Kiss My Face "Obsessively Organic", Giovanni "Organic
Cosmetics", Head "Organics", Desert Essence "Organics" and Stella
McCartney's CARE "100% Organic". The culprit certifiers are OASIS and
Ecocert; Estee Lauder is also a defendant due to its expressed intent
to enter the market under its Aveda brand with misleading OASIS
certified "organic" products. The 800,000 supporter strong Organic
Consumers Association has played a leading role in exposing and
educating consumers about deceptive organic branding, and is a party in
the litigation with Ecocert.
The Court turned aside the defendants' arguments that Dr. Bronner's, in
its complaint filed with the Court, hadn't sufficiently spelled out how
actual consumers, the company and competition in the organic personal
care industry have been hurt by the defendants' deceptive practices.
The Court also rejected a claim by OASIS that its deceptive
certification could be protected as free speech. In so ruling, the
Court moved the case closer to full consideration of the merits of Dr.
Bronner's claims. Organic consumers expect that the main cleansing and
moisturizing ingredients in soaps, shampoos and body washes that are
labeled "Organic", "Organics" or "Made with Organic" will be made from
organic as distinct from conventional agricultural material, produced
without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides, and be free of
petrochemical compounds. Dr. Bronner's products, in contrast to
defendants' products, contain cleansing and moisturizing ingredients
made only from certified organic oils, made without any use of
petrochemicals, and contain no petrochemical preservatives. The
misleading organic noise created by culprit companies' branding and
labeling practices, interferes with organic consumers ability to
distinguish personal care whose main ingredients are in fact made with
certified organic, not conventional or petrochemical, material, free of
Posted at www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare and www.drbronner.com/usda_organic_bodycare.html
for the media and public to review, is: one, the Case Management
Conference document filed jointly by Dr. Bronner's and Defendants that
frames the case from either position; two, the Court's recent Oct. 8th
rulings; and three, a detailed comparison of U.S. and European natural
and organic personal care standards, ranked by rigor and integrity,
including: USDA Organic (US); NSF (US); Soil Association (UK); BDIH
(Germany); Natural Products Association (US); Whole Foods Premium (US);
OASIS (US); NaTrue (Germany); and Ecocert (France).
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Over the summer, Dr. Bronner's was pleased to settle with former
defendants Ikove and Juice Beauty. Ikove has committed to reformulate
problematic products to exclude any ingredients containing
petrochemical compounds and label their products appropriately. Dr.
Bronner's and Juice Beauty have entered into a Settlement Agreement,
in which Juice Beauty agrees to accept the Court's decision; but in any
event, even should the Court not so mandate, Juice Beauty has committed
that no ingredients including petrochemical compounds shall be in any
Juice Beauty product whatsoever, as of February, 2010. Says Dr.
Bronner's president David Bronner: "We're optimistic as the case
progresses, that other companies that have further to go will
nonetheless see the light and agree to settle rather than dragging this
out." Adds Ronnie Cummins, OCA Executive Director: "The writing is on
the wall for companies who misbrand conventional personal care as
organic to mislead consumers."
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