Whole Foods Sloughs off Misleading Product Claims
Organic personal care products in Whole Foods Market's U.S. stores are third-party certified, making Whole Foods Market the first and only national retailer to ensure that the use of the word "organic" is accurate and consistent across all store aisles.
In June of 2010, Whole Foods Market launched its organic labeling guidelines for body care products and became the first national entity to police the organic claims on non-food products. These guidelines require all personal care products making a front-of-label organic claim to be certified, either to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic standards or the NSF 305 organic personal care standard.
Today, all personal care products on the retailer's domestic shelves are in full compliance.
"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," said Jeremiah McElwee, global coordinator of the personal care department at Whole Foods. "Our suppliers eagerly took on the challenge of making crucial ingredient and labeling changes. Thanks to their tremendous support, our shoppers can trust that all products in our U.S. stores labeled as 'organic' truly are."
For the past two years, Whole Foods worked with suppliers to transition their label claims to the meet the following standards:
- Products making an "Organic" product claim − Must be certified to the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) standard for organic (> 95 percent) 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 percent) products.
- Products making a "Contains Organic [Ingredient]" claim − Must be certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Organic Personal Care Standard.
- Products listing an organic ingredient in the "Ingredients:" listing − Organic ingredient must be certified to the USDA NOP standard.
Shoppers can choose from hundreds of certified organic personal care products on the retailer's U.S. shelves including cosmetics, hair care products, lotions, deodorants, soaps and even feminine care items.
"People have the right to know what's in the products they're using on and in their bodies," said Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market. "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."
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods operates more than 325 stores in the United States, Canada and the U.K.