These days, you can see organic labels on everything from detergent to baby products. But, recent news reports have suggested that these labels may not offer customers the peace of mind they are seeking. For instance, according to QZ, in order for food products to carry the organic label, the products must be at least 95% organic. The USDA divides organic labeling into four distinctions. There is 100% organic, usually used to label whole products like apples, bananas, or breads where all ingredients in the product are organic. 95% organic refers to products where 5% of the ingredients are not organic. These products usually contain ingredients that are not commercially available organically. However, shampoos, textiles, and cosmetics are not required to abide by the same strict standard. This means that shampoos, detergents, and other products that claim to be organic, may not be as natural as you think.
The issue has many companies and consumers concerned. For instance, food producers who adhere to strict organic standards worry that the organic brand may become meaningless if non-food companies use the designation without oversight. Furthermore, not all organic companies have the same strict standards. According to the USDA, the FDA does not regulate organic labeling as it applies to cosmetics, body care, and personal care products. Consumers may need to read the packaging of organic detergents more carefully to determine the percentage of organic components in the detergent. For families who want to find safe and healthy alternatives for their children, this can become a time-consuming task. After all, many families just don’t have the time to read detailed and complex ingredient lists or research a company’s practices.
Some companies are more transparent than others. For instance, Health of Nations Inc. prides itself on adhering to ICEA standards. The Ethical and Environmental Certification Institute requires detergents and other companies to meet very high standards in order to hold the ICEA label. In order for cosmetics and detergents to hold the ICEA designation they must be “free of chemical substances that can be harmful to humans or the environment.” The strict standards ensure that products are free of harmful substances and are suitable for people with allergies. In order for products to meet ICEA standards, bottles and packaging must also be environmentally safe.ICEA designation meet organic labeling requirements for food, containing 95% or more than 95% organic ingredients in each product. This means that Health of Nations, Inc. detergents meet organic standards.
If you plan to buy organic, an organic label on your detergent may not mean much. Instead, consumers may want to look for ICEA labels or stick to products they trust to meet the same high standards required of food producers.