Organic personal care just got prettier—that is the feel good news from Quality Assurance International (QAI) with the launch of the first certification for "Made with Organic" Ingredients" for personal care products.
The certification is the first American National Standard to define organic labeling and marketing requirements for "made with organic " personal care products. The certification qualifies for NSF/ANSI 305: Made with Organic Personal Care Products specifications. The voluntary standard allows "made with organic claims" for products with organic content of 70 percent (O70) or more that comply with all other requirements of the standard. Though no official 100% certification exists yet for organic and personal care, this standard will allow consumers a guarantee that certain standards are being upheld. In recent years this sector has faced criticism for fraudulent claims and lax oversight.
The standard specifies materials, processes, production criteria, and conditions for personal care products to make organic label and marketing claims. It also contains requirements for agricultural ingredients and methods of extraction based on the final product's label claim. Products covered by the standard include rinse-off and leave-on personal care and cosmetic products, as well as oral care and personal hygiene products.
The standards do not allow for petroleum-based ingredients, though certain processes and ingredients, such as synthetic preservatives and biodegradable surfactants, will be allowed. For an explanation of various standards within the personal care market and a market overview, see this NBJ report.
"Consumers are demanding certified organic products beyond food and beverage as they see the link to protecting the environment and improving their health. New standards for nonfood, organic items are an important evolution in the organic industry," said Joe Smillie, QAI Senior Vice President in a statement.
The organic personal care market is one of the fastest growing categories in natural products. U.S. consumer sales of natural and organic personal care products in all channels grew 8.4% to $7.9 billion in 2008, according to a Feb. 2009 report by Nutrition Business Journal (Functional Ingredients' sister publication). NBJ reports this is a decline from 16.8% with sales reaching $17.3 billion in 2007, though NBJ notes the slowdown can be attributed to market maturation. In 2007, Natural Foods Merchandiser (also an Fi sister publication) reported a 21% growth rate in natural and organic personal care exclusive to the natural channels.