A question eco-shoppers everywhere want answered is why is it so much easier to find certified organic food than it is to find other organic products with full certification?
Firstly, there is no legal definition on how the word organic should be used in relation to health and beauty products. European legislation legally protects the word ‘organic' for the food industry, but in the non-food industries (skin care, baby care, household cleaners etc) it does not. Because of this, companies can market their products as organic without them actually containing any organic ingredients. This has led to the misconception amongst many consumers that they are buying all-natural
products when in fact they are buying a partially
natural product often containing Paraben preservatives, SLS, synthetic colour and fragrance and petroleum-based mineral oils.
For those consumers savvy enough to spot the misleading marketing ploys, there is still the difficulty of finding a truly natural product that has been certified by a legitimate regulatory body. The problem is certified organic products are hard to make. Most cosmetics need to contain a certain number of functional ingredients to work effectively and for safety and hygiene reasons.
Current organic Soil Association standards
state that a product must contain 95% or above organically grown ingredients to be labelled ‘organic' but also allows products to bear their symbol and the phrase ‘made with organic ingredients' if they contain a minimum 70%. What's more, there are certain completely natural ingredients that cannot technically be called organic, for example water and chalk. Chalk, a key ingredient in toothpaste, is a naturally occurring mineral, takes the earth millennia to create and cannot be made
organic. Water and chalk cannot be organified
by man and therefore can't be counted as part of the 95% organic quota.
To get around the Soil Associations tight regulations some companies are replacing ‘un-growable' ingredients with organically grown ingredients. Organic aloe vera juice, for example, is used by some manufacturers as a substitute for water.