Organic Certification in the Works for Personal Care
It may not be long before we see shampoos, moisturizers and soaps made with organic ingredients bearing that familiar green and white organic seal. At its November meeting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) voted 12 to one to enforce its organic food regulations in the personal care arena. In doing so, any products that claim to be organic but do not carry the USDA seal must either change their language or meet USDA standards.
Miles McEvoy, NOP director has developed some initial priorities for getting the program off the ground.The implementation of USDA organic rules to personal care is a large endeavor, McEvoy admitted. “Personal care products are challenging because of overlapping jurisdiction with FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration],” he said, noting that NOP has been consulting with the agency about this issue, “Those conversations have revealed that there may be conflicts between the FDA regulations and the NOP regulations when you try to reconcile the two different regulations and try to find a way to label soap in a way that complies with both regulations.”
The USDA NOP standards will be top dog, McEvoy said, “Bottom line: Certifiers are responsible for ensuring that products labeled as organic under our regulations are labeled in compliance with the NOP regulations. If ACAs [Accredited Certifiers Association] cannot work with the clients to create a product and label that meet the NOP regulations, they should not be certifying the product.”
Regardless of the challenges that may lie ahead for both regulations and product manufacturers, many in the industry feel it is an important step toward instilling consumer confidence in the validity of organic personal care items.