Sham “Organic” Shampoo – Dubious Labels on Personal Care Products

The tremendous growth of the organic market has unfortunately fostered the growth of some fishy organic claims. In the organic food sector, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has strict standards, and organic certifiers are generally good about validating organic label claims.

But when it comes to personal care products, USDA has failed to establish national standards. As a result, there are now dozens of hair products, soaps, bath and baby products and other personal care items labeled “organic,” despite little evidence that many of these products contain significant quantities of organic ingredients.

A CEH investigation has found several major personal care brands which we believe are misleadingly labeled as “organic,” contrary to California’s organic labeling rules. Some of these products include:

In each case, the product uses the term “organic” on the front panel of the label. Yet in each case, the ingredients list shows few or no organic ingredients in the products.

If you have purchased any of these products, contact CEH, charles@ceh.org or 510-655-3900×305, to learn more.

We appreciate companies using organic ingredients – which creates markets for organic farmers and helps push agriculture away from destructive, pesticide-based practices. But consumers need to know that the organic labels they see in stores are reliable and consistent. And companies who truly go the distance by using significant amounts of organic ingredients should be able to differentiate their products, by prominent use of the term “organic.”

If anyone can use “organic” on their label, whether their product contains a bulk of organic ingredients or not, the organic label becomes meaningless. And that harms the entire organic sector.

Contact CEH, charles@ceh.org or 510-655-3900×305, if you have purchased any of these products and want to learn more.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted March 13, 2011 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    It is always best to buy organic products from a brand that ia certified by a leading organic body.

  2. Moriah Cohen
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    yes, but even some of these products contain some certified organic ingredients. The problem is that companies take advantage of a loophole in the USDA standards and use the term “organic” prominently on products that contain few certified ingredients.

  3. Posted April 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I think it is always good idea to buy certified organic products which can deliver great value. thanks

  4. Posted June 6, 2011 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Organic shampoo with a third party certified seal such as the USDA Organic is the safest and purest. The seal means that the ingredients used are truly certified organic and that the shampoo does not contain harmful chemicals.

  5. Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    Reading the ingredients label is so important. Most consumers are not aware of the harmful ingredients in hair care products that affect their health which is really so unfortunate.