Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, the family owned maker of the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America, has responded to the online publication Food Safety News' inaccurate article, "Big Donor to GMO Labeling Campaigns Gets in Trouble for One of its Own Labels," published August 18, by demanding that the article be removed and that a corrective piece be published on the site immediately. Food Safety News, after reviewing the inaccuracies identified by Dr Bronner's, immediately removed the article from the Food Safety News website.
The central focus of the Food Safety News article is routine correspondence from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to Dr. Bronner's regarding the labels on the company's sole food product, organic and fair trade Virgin Coconut Oil.
The label included a truthful claim about what clinical research had shown about the beneficial effects of saturated medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil. FDA warned that the statement could not be included because it could indicate the product is intended for use as a drug, which it is not. Before receiving the FDA letter, Dr. Bronner's had already been advised and corrected it-- removing this one statement from all the labels for this product going forward. FDA had no problem with a separate statement to the effect that "Extensive research in the tropics shows that people who follow a traditional diet high in coconut oil enjoy excellent cardiovascular health." However to be safe Dr. Bronner's chose to remove that as well.
The second point in the FDA letter was that although this product contains no trans fat, Dr. Bronner's should have disclosed that fact in the nutrition labeling box on the label now required by FDA regulations. Dr. Bronner's immediately changed its labels to show zero trans fat in this product.
Unfortunately, Food Safety News twisted the FDA letter and published false and defamatory statements without bothering to contact Dr. Bronner's, including that Dr. Bronner's is "accused of...hiding a damaging ingredient... Dr. Bronner's label also fails to disclose that its coconut oil contains trans fats... 'the worst type of fat you can eat' because it both raises LDL or 'bad' cholesterol while lowering HDL or 'good' cholesterol."
These statements are absolutely false. Dr. Bronner's Virgin Coconut Oil contains no transfat whatsoever, and the FDA never suggested that it did. As Dr. Bronner's letter to Food Safety News explained: "Rather, the FDA cited Dr. Bronner's for not including a statement of the amount of transfat in the nutritional labeling box, as required by FDA regulations." Upon receipt of this correspondence from FDA, Dr. Bronner's included mention of the transfat content for the Virgin Coconut Oil on the product label, which is zero. Indeed, Virgin Coconut Oil in general, and certainly USDA seal organic coconut oil, is not hydrogenated and so cannot contain transfats.
"Dr. Bronner's is staunchly committed to transparency and truth in labeling of consumer products," company president David Bronner stated, "Our company will continue to advocate for consumers' right to know what's in their food, and support efforts to label GMOs in food products, despite efforts by GMO-labeling opponents to defame Dr. Bronner's unwavering commitment to consumer rights."
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps' commitment to GMO-labeling, as well as fair trade, healthy and sustainable agriculture, and corporate accountability, is part of the company's mission to put into practice the social and ecological principles that inform Dr. Bronner's philosophy printed on the company's iconic soap labels.