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The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Truly Organic Body Care

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.

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46 comments

Comments

brian e. says …

Whole Care Body / Personal Organic products deserve the same adherence to strict organic food standards for their customers !

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.

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!!

Darcy says …

I'm glad that you are raising the requirement to 95%. It's a shame how some companies try to mislead customers

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.

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.

Annie says …

Its crazy that they can get away with stuff like this!

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!

Kelly D says …

I also hope that these new standards increase the quality of these organic products- looking forward to June 1st!

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.

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!

Brett says …

Can't wait for June 1st!! Let's hold manufacturer's accountable!!

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

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.

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!

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.

Sabrina Radke says …

Thanks for the information, it really stinks that companies claim things when they are not true!

Jason Mehl says …

Great pod cast, I had no idea about this. It's good that they're going to be held accountable.

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.

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!!

Samantha says …

it's good to know people are following up!

Lily says …

Thank you for taking this initiative. It will make shopping for organic products so much simpler.

Nicole Greene says …

Thank you so much for the information! I think they should definitely be held accountable!

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

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.

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!

Claire says …

Thanks for the clarification. I always have no idea what all the labels mean! There are so many. I mean natural versus organic, you'd think they were the same thing! They definitely need to uphold strict standards on what can be labeled organic.

Steph says …

thanks for clarifying this stuff! appreciate the transparency and that stores will be held accountable.

Chrissy Torres says …

Thanks for stepping it up and trying to get everyone to uphold a better standard. June 1st will be a great day.

Robin says …

Certifying that a skin care product is organic in no way ensures quality of the product. It only ensures that the ingredients that are claiming to be organic are indeed organic. As a dermatologist, I can assure you that the best products are the simplest formulations. Many 'organic' skin care products that have a long list of extracts in them might be truly organic but carry a large risk of both irritation and allergic reaction. Just because something is good and healthy to eat does not make it something you want or should put on your skin.

John Dobroski says …

Thank you Whole Foods! Several companies, like Dr. Bronner's, have been fighting this for a while. I shop only at Whole Foods and appreciate your commitment to the health of your customers.

Stephanie Greenwood says …

I am so glad that Whole Foods has adopted this policy! Kudos to Whole Foods for upholding the law when it comes to organic labeling practices. I just hope that people realize that this changes the way that the products on the shelves are labeled, and not necessarily the ingredients in the products. This change makes ensures that any product labeled "organic" is truly organic. But do note, that there will still be plenty of non-organic/synthetic-filled products on shelves, they'll just be labeled "natural" instead.

Jennifer says …

I am so glad Whole Foods have taken their own initiative to enforce their own standards for health and beauty care. Something the government and FDA have yet to do. I have stopped using most of my toxic products, and keep trying to find safer alternatives. I check the skin deep website all the time to see which products have the lowest toxicity (level 0-2). You may even say I've become obsessed. I am guessing what's safe when I buy products from other health food stores, and then I get home and find out they are some of the worst offending products with moderate to high toxicity. Ugh! I am glad to learn I can have peace of mind buying from Whole Foods. I am glad that you have a list of 400 undesirable ingredients, and that organic means 95% organic and USDA certified. I cannot wait to take a trip to my nearest store. I read that last year Europe cited 11,000 ingredients unsuitable for skincare and the U.S. found only 11. How scarey, and shocking! The FDA and U.S. government sure could learn a lot from you. Can't wait until June 1st, and can't wait until they pass a safe cosmetics bill.

Hamza says …

This is really great news for people that use organic products . im sure people will appreciate your products and use them well for body care .

hina says …

do you have maracuja oil for face as a moisturizer

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HINA - All of our products vary between regions and store locations. Reach out to your local store to see if they offer this product. You can find their contact information at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.

jianya says …

I want to know that if these brands are in your store such as Avalon,Aubrey ,Desert Essence, Giovanni, Nature's Gate,Nourish, Ecover, Seventh Generation etc. Thanks!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JIANYA - Most of our stores should carry these brands but since our vendors can vary between regions, I would suggest reaching out to your local store to see if they have these in stock. You can find a list of stores on our website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.

A Nap says …

I am having a difficult time finding certified skin products where I live. I searched the web and found organic consumers .org/ body care, which lists the manufacturers that use certified organic ingredients but can't find any of the producers on my list. So therefore, I am extremely happy that Whole Foods will be coming to my area and that they have adopted the policy about certification.

Marinelia says …

I would like to learn more about the organic products.

Katherine Wormull-Hamilton says …

Our skin absorbs toxins too over all if it near eyes and mouth. it is very important to pay attention of what product we use as well. I'm very glad that the standard are getting higher in regulations. because the following products are scary. Without bensoates,sulfates,EDTA', PPG', PVP, mineral oils and many more.

catherine says …

will you carry more high end skincare that give results (with scientific ingredients such as peptides, stem cells, and resveratrol) in addition to plants? What you currently sell does not improve aging skin, sun damage, and very dry skin. What about better packaging line airless bottles?

Jeanette says …

I am looking for women's deodar ant, Thanks Jeanette D

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JEANETTE - Most of our stores should have deodorant options for women. If you're looking for a particular brand I would suggest reaching out to your local store to find out what they have in stock.

Zenobia Moore says …

I am looking for a product by the name of Olbas Oil "Aromatherapy Inhalant and Massage Oil" or do your company have anything like that.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ZENOBIA - Our exact product options will differ between stores. Check with your local store to see if they have anything similar to this product. A team member in Whole Body will be happy to help.