Natural Foods Merchandiser

Personal Care Standards Update

Don't expect to see a USDA seal for organic personal care products any time soon. However, the Organic Trade Association has made progress on developing criteria for personal care. OTA President Phil Margolis says the personal care task force meeting held Sept. 5 at Natural Products Expo East accomplished everything on its agenda. "We've picked out the issues we need to talk about," he said.

The task force:

  • Received and approved a report from the criteria committee, chaired by Tim Kapsner of Aveda, that defined the processes used to manufacture organic personal care products. Task force members were given 30 days to add any processes to the document.

  • Discussed criteria to evaluate materials and ingredients used in personal care products. The group agreed that criteria produced for the fiber standards task force was a good model. A draft document for personal care should be written in two months, the OTA's Associate Policy Director, Tom Hutcheson, said.

  • Approved a decision tree developed by Bob Durst of Simple Organic Solutions as a tool to evaluate materials and ingredients.

  • Began a preliminary discussion about what preservatives should be allowed in personal care products. "We talked about what the issues would be, because you have to balance efficacy with desirability," Margolis said. "That's something we'll delve into more over the next few months."

  • Listened to industry updates on hydrosols. Bayliss Ranch has received National Organic Program certification from QAI for manufacturing hydrosols that are single-strength replications of a plant, a process analogous to single-strength juice. "It's like orange juice," Hutchinson said. "You make a concentrate. You [can] then add water to it to bring it back to its single strength and still sell it as organic."

Rutgers University has received a grant to do research on lavender and mint hydrosols. The Organic Consumers Association and Oregon Tilth are sponsoring the research.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 10/p. 7

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