With our guidelines for organic personal care, Whole Foods Market is working toward ensuring that “organic” means organic in every aisle of our stores. Listen in as we share about our efforts to protect the organic standard for our shoppers, suppliers and planet. Joe Dickson is Global Quality Standards Coordinator at Whole Foods Market.
The definition of “organic” should not change substantially between the food and the non-food aisles of our stores:
- When you’re in the produce aisle, “organic” means that a fruit or vegetable was grown without toxic or persistent agricultural chemicals in environmentally friendly ways, and that it was certified by a third party.
- Whole Foods Market believes that this should be the definition in our Whole Body departments as well, which is why we’re raising the bar.
- Our guidelines require any product making an organic claim – including products with ‘organic’ in the brand name – to be made up mostly of organic agricultural ingredients and to be certified.
Our guidelines ensure that “organic” truly means organic in every aisle at Whole Foods Market:
- With food, in order to call a product “organic,” it has to contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients (and the remaining 5% is tightly controlled too) thanks to strict government regulations.
- Since there’s no government oversight of organic body care, consumers have no assurance that “organic” products contain ANY organic ingredients at all.
- Any product making an “organic” product claim – like “organic shampoo” or “organic bath salts” must be 95% organic and certified to the same USDA Organic standard as food.
- Products with more than 70% organic ingredients can make a claim like “Made with organic essential oils and extracts” if they’re USDA certified, or “Contains organic essential oils and extracts,” if they’re certified to the NSF 305 Organic Personal Care products standard.
- The NSF standard is similar to the “70%/Made With” level of the USDA standard, but allows certain ingredients and processes that are specific to personal care products.
These standards will help encourage the quality of personal care (and the industry as a whole) to improve:
- As of June 1st, all organic personal care products sold in our U.S. stores will be certified organic.
- Looking at the front label, anything that uses the word “organic” must be certified to one of the standards mentioned above.
- Anything with “organic” in the product or name must be certified by a USDA accredited certifier or to the NSF standard – look for the certifier’s name on the label.
According to Joe Dickson, Global Quality Standards Coordinator at Whole Foods Market, this is a huge step with a positive impact for all stakeholders:
By requiring that organic products have substantial amounts of organic ingredients, we’re increasing the demand for organic ingredients and thus increasing the amount of land being farmed organically.
- We’ve already seen many suppliers obtain certification and increase the organic ingredients in their products in order to comply, and this is a huge win for organic farmers, the environment, and shoppers seeking more organic products.