Article by: Perry Romanowski

Here’s a news development that could have wider implications for anyone involved in selling natural or organic cosmetics.  It seems there was a class action lawsuit against the cosmetic brand Organix.  The lawsuit claimed that Organix incorrectly used the terms Organix and organic in their labeling because they did not contain at least 70% organic materials in their manufacture.  Rather than go to court, the company settled for some $6.5 million.

The interesting thing about this is that there is no legal requirement in the US that to call yourself organic you need to have 70% organic materials in your formula.  By settling the company may be setting a precedent which could prompt other companies to start living up to that standard.

There must be something more to the lawsuit that I am missing however as I think if Organix probably could have won the lawsuit if the claim was just against the use of the term “organic” for their particular formulas.  Perhaps their lawyers decided that settling was the best move from a financial standpoint.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the organic / natural products of the future.  There are still no legal restrictions on using the terms “organic” and “natural” in your advertising for cosmetic products.  The FDA has set no legal standards and the USDA (which certifies organic food) does not have any jurisdiction over cosmetics.  As long as you are not using their seal, there does not seem to be any restrictions against calling yourself organic.

Of course, I’m not a lawyer so if you want to make organic claims and you are worried about the implications of this recent lawsuit, I’d recommend you talk to a lawyer.

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TAGS:natural
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4 comments

  1. Amy

    The USDA does have some rules for using it’s logo if there is not a large % Organic in the formulas. I believe they require 95% CO to put it on the front and 70% to put in on the back. There are also rules about what the remaining 30% can be. This is all in NSF/ANSI 305 – 2011. This is only for the USDA logo though. The article doesn’t say if they were using the USDA organic logo though…

    1. Perry Romanowski

      You are correct about the USDA and using it’s logo. This is not a common practice however, so I don’t believe these companies were using the logo. That’s what makes this case so interesting.

  2. Leah

    I’ve seen a lot of brands pop up recently where the packaging gives it a “natural healthy organic vibe” but they are just conventional shampoo. Theres even a whole section for these right next to the actually organic products. Seems very misleading and confusing to me.

    1. Perry Romanowski

      Some brands like to mislead and confuse.

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