Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Truly Organic Body Care

By Chris Jensen, April 5, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chris Jensen
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.




Joan Morais says ...
Clarification is needed since there really are none regarding organic in personal care products. I teach classes on making natural and organic products for body, hair and skin. I'm always asked about the regulations for organic in body care products. Anyone can claim the product is organic so you never know for sure if it is or not.
04/05/2011 1:05:21 PM CDT
Brett says ...
Can't wait for June 1st!! Let's hold manufacturer's accountable!!
04/06/2011 7:16:26 AM CDT
Amber says ...
Kudos to you for raising the bar from 70% organic ingredients to 95%! I cannot wait to shop in your Whole Body section today!
04/06/2011 8:01:58 AM CDT
Annie says ...
Its crazy that they can get away with stuff like this!
04/06/2011 9:32:03 AM CDT
Sabrina Radke says ...
Thanks for the information, it really stinks that companies claim things when they are not true!
04/06/2011 8:29:24 PM CDT
Grace says ...
It's great to find a place that does what they say! Can't wait to try your products! Still waiting to go to a Whole Foods closer to home, Fremont tri-city area though.
04/06/2011 10:27:30 PM CDT
Anne E. Perry says ...
I am excited for the new changes in labeling. I have a 8 month old son & only purchase organic body care items for him.
04/07/2011 11:16:55 AM CDT
Lynn Winters says ...
I truly appreciate all of your efforts and especially regarding the Organic and Non-GMO products that you carry. I have been a loyal customer for over two years and I purchase all of my personal care items at your store. I want to be able to continue to trust you and your integrity. Thank you, Lynn Winters
04/08/2011 8:34:47 PM CDT
Cristy says ...
I like that stores are now going to be held accountable! If you claim organic, there needs to be complete organic! Don't fool the customers!!
04/12/2011 8:48:36 AM CDT
Brittney says ...
This is awesome! Worry free shopping! I use the cosmeticdatabase.com to try and figure out the best products for our family to use. By you doing this, it should be so much easier because everything has pretty much been researched for me!! Thanks!!
04/12/2011 2:10:28 PM CDT
Chelly says ...
Good to hear that someone is holding these people accountable for their organic claims. From the organic farmers that I know, it's not easy to continue growing organic, so I hope that this will help to keep the demand up for their contribution to these products.
04/13/2011 10:19:40 AM CDT
Samantha says ...
it's good to know people are following up!
04/13/2011 9:25:09 PM CDT
Lily says ...
Thank you for taking this initiative. It will make shopping for organic products so much simpler.
04/13/2011 10:04:48 PM CDT
Darcy says ...
I'm glad that you are raising the requirement to 95%. It's a shame how some companies try to mislead customers
04/13/2011 10:52:10 PM CDT
Nicole Greene says ...
Thank you so much for the information! I think they should definitely be held accountable!
04/14/2011 5:01:56 PM CDT
william mckinley says ...
it wasn't very long ago i watched a ted report on the fact that young birds are staarving to death and when they autopsy their stomachs are filled to the brim with plastic bottle caps that the flying babies thought were food bobbing on the waves
04/15/2011 3:47:30 PM CDT
Crystal says ...
It's amazing the marketing schemes that they come up with- and how many people jump on the claim as valid! Thanks for helping to set things straight! Natural is definetely better- but we still have to be careful what we buy!
04/15/2011 8:47:20 PM CDT
Kelly D says ...
I also hope that these new standards increase the quality of these organic products- looking forward to June 1st!
04/16/2011 9:55:58 AM CDT
Marcia Goss says ...
I'm so glad that Whole Foods is taking the lead in making sure organic body products are held to the same FDA standards as organic foods.
04/16/2011 4:02:28 PM CDT
kolpin says ...
I hope that with increased demand for organic products, that prices will come down. fruit/veggies and animal products are my top priority with organic purchases, but organic personal care items are usually further down the list.
04/17/2011 11:42:30 AM CDT
Katie S. says ...
Good info! A bit scary, but unfortunately not suprising. The government really needs to start enforcing their truth in advertising laws and punish companies that blatantly lie to consumers!
04/18/2011 11:19:43 AM CDT
Susan Smith says ...
I like that anything with “organic” in the product or name must be certified by a USDA accredited certifier or to the NSF standard, this is a great way to know that organic product has been check and is organic.
04/18/2011 7:24:23 PM CDT
Sarah L says ...
I'm glad to hear this. I've always been a label reader and this will help get good products on your shelves.
04/18/2011 9:55:54 PM CDT
brian e. says ...
Whole Care Body / Personal Organic products deserve the same adherence to strict organic food standards for their customers !
04/18/2011 10:51:47 PM CDT
sharon says ...
After reading, "Slow Death by Rubber Duck" I am sooooo happy that Wholefoods has stepped up to the plate on this issue. Chemicals in many mainstream personal care products are incredibly harmful. I appreciate the "without toxic or persistent ingredients," because persistent is the key word, they do not slowly fade away and those badboys need to be banned!
04/19/2011 8:11:23 PM CDT