Article by: Underground Formulator
Wow. The power of the internet is amazing. It only took four days for Whole Foods to update their list after my first post on this site was published. It looks like we have their attention. The formatting was fixed so it’s actually readable now. (Thanks!) They also reacted specifically to some of the betaine concerns from my first Whole Foods Ingredient list post. I’d be remiss if I don’t go back to how they addressed my concerns and see if I can force another course correction before getting to a new topic.
Betaines part deux
Babassuamidopropyl betaine now has a note next to it saying “acceptable if there is documentation to show the source is natural”. I have two problems with that statement. One is if anyone knows another place to get babassu oil other than the Amazon rainforest let me know, because I haven’t read about anyone able to make it synthetically. The second is every other part of the betaine molecule is not really natural. Dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA) and sodium monochloroacetate (SMCA) are the things you react with babassu oil to make that betaine. They aren’t “natural”. So what’s their definition? The fatty portion has to be natural? Hardly anything is completely “natural” that is used in body care. Most ingredients they’ve already deemed acceptable are a reaction product of some kind.
They also put the above note for the others on the list except for lauryl amidopropyl betaine, decyl glucoside betaine, and wheat germamidopropyl betaine. I’ll get to those later. I have the same issue as the previous paragraph, but I guess it kind of makes sense for oleyl betaine, where it could be animal derived.
Now, let’s get back to lauryl amidopropyl betaine. The note next to it says “lauryl amidopropyl betaine is not INCI compliant”. Why not just remove it from the list, as anything going on the shelf should have an INCI listing that is compliant. Oh, never mind I forgot they don’t actually care about INCI compliance as seen by the LOI on this hand soap sold at Whole Foods.
This begs the question, why not include every ingredient that could possibly be listed wrong and make their list a billion pages long? Why not add cocoyl amidopropyl betaine to the list? Or cocamida propyl betaine? Those are misuses of the proper INCI term cocamidopropyl betaine as well. And why is coco betaine now OK as long as you prove it’s from a natural source, but you don’t have to prove cocamidopropyl betaine comes from a natural source? It’s still not on their list. They are both derived from coconut oil. The only reasonable move is take coco betaine off the list completely.
I can understand the logic in keeping wheat germamidopropyl betaine on the list, even if I disagree with it. They probably don’t want any possible gluten containing products (even though it’s a ridiculous concern when applied topically). They also removed the non-existent chemical decyl glucoside betaine. Big win! And why didn’t they keep this on and say “not INCI compliant”? Inconsistent.
I was going to start a new topic this week, but going back to explaining betaines took more words than I thought so I’ll just cut it short. Next week, I’ll dive into some other chemistry. I have at least five more posts outlined already to continue pointing out major flaws on the list. I hope they keep reacting to this blog. It will make everyone’s lives easier that have to formulate products for Whole Foods, and still keep with their goal of putting safe and “natural” products on the shelves. A bigger concern, WalMart and Target are in the process of making “acceptable” lists and will be looking at the Whole Foods list as a guide.
P.S. I wrote this before actually being able to talk to someone on the phone at Whole Foods about the list and I will talk further about their point of view next week.