AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market said last week that all personal care products and cosmetics making an “organic” claim sold in its U.S. stores must be third-party certified by June 1, 2011.
Suppliers who are making an “organic” claim have until Aug. 1, 2010, to submit their plans for compliance and until June 1, 2011, to be in full compliance.
Under the new guideline, all products making an “organic” product claim (e.g., “organic shampoo”) must be certified to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (USDA NOP) standard, the same standard to which organic food must be certified under U.S. law. Products making a “made with organic ingredients” claim must also be certified to the NOP standard, and products making a “contains organic ingredients” claim must be certified to the NSF 305 ANSI Standard for Organic Personal Care products, a consensus-based industry standard accepted by the American National Standards Institute and managed by NSF International.
The USDA has said that personal care products can be certified to the NOP standard, but such certification is not mandatory for nonfood products. To honor the authenticity of the organic label, Whole Foods is requiring organic certification to ensure that claims on product labels are accurate.
“At Whole Foods Market, our shoppers do not expect the definition of organic to change substantially between the food and nonfood aisles of our stores,” said Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator, in a press release. “We believe that the ‘organic’ claim used on personal care products should have just as strong a meaning to the ‘organic’ claim used on food products, which is currently regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program.”
The company’s set of requirements apply to all personal care products and cosmetics that use the word “organic” in any way on the product label, including the use of the word “organic” in the brand name, which must be certified to the USDA NOP or NSF 305 standards.
Whole Foods Market said it is currently working with suppliers to transition their label claims to the meet these standards.