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What Should Be Called Organic?

You probably heard about the Dr. Bronner Lawsuit against “organic” companies out there. The lawsuit sparked a debate in the green community as to whether the company is going too far in its righteousness.

I, for one, agree that the standards must be reevaluated. There are certain reasonable expectations that people have when they see claims of the “organic” nature, and they should be met. I’m not sure that Dr. Bronner should be spearheading the process, for this could be just a marketing ploy, but on the other hand, someone has to start a serious debate about all the bogus claims that companies make. Especially companies that pretend to be “more aware” than others, and squeeze themselves into the health-stores.

As consumers we shouldn’t have to read the fine print for everything all the time. The high level of alert can lead to paranoia, and we have enough to worry about as it is. But, how come nobody is policing our rights to genuine information?

Case in point:

Some time ago I began shifting my family into more natural hair products. And upon a trip to a health store, while towing two little kids, I tried to select one off the “health” shelf. These were brands I’ve never seen before (at the time), for they are not something I can find at the local Wal-Mart. Given that I was in a rush, I selected JASON hair conditioner, for it said right under the title: “Pure, Natural and Organic”.

Now, as a reasonable person, what would you expect to be found in a product like that? I was naïve, and expected to find natural organic ingredients. I thought that this must be a company that cares. For they definitely seemed to be targeting the “health-oriented” niche.

Well, when I finally looked at the ingredients, I realized that out of over thirty ingredients listed (and some of questionable natural origin), only one had the asterisk with a “certified organic” note. And it wasn’t even listed in the first half of the ingredients.

One ingredient out of over thirty, and the product is called organic.

There is something wrong with this picture.

Now, I am not questioning the “naturalness” of this product here. Most ingredients seem to be plant derived, and definitely read better than you standard supermarket hair conditioner. (Though the report on Dioxane-4 found in Jason products can turn that into a serious discussion as well.)

But if someone says “organic”, they should have to back it up with something more than a bit of organic leaf gel squeezed in, possibly as an afterthought. Or they shouldn’t say anything at all.

I’m getting tired of reading the small print.

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2 comments

1 Erika { 06.30.08 at 11:40 am }

Hi, I couldn’t agree with you more. I liked the article and think you have a very nice blog. Warm Regards.

2 julena { 06.30.08 at 1:48 pm }

Thank you Erika :)

I checked your site too, and I think it’s a wonderful resource for our organic babies :)

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