Whole Foods Market suppliers have less than a year to certify personal care products labeled as "organic" to the the same standards that organic food is currently certified under US law. The deadline for submitting their plans for compliance, however, is only a month away.
As of June 1, 2011, all personal care products labeled as "organic" and "made with organic ingredients" must be certified to the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (USDA NOP) standard in order to sold in its US stores, the Austin-based organic grocery chain announced earlier this month on its corporate website. Products labeled as "contains organic ingredients" will be required to be certified by the consensus-based industry standard NSF 305 ANSI Standard for Organic Personal Care Products.
The USDA is not expected to mandate certification for non-food products making organic claims. So why is Whole Foods raising the bar for its suppliers? The answer is simple: Its customers expect it.
“At Whole Foods Market, our shoppers do not expect the definition of organic to change substantially between the food and non-food aisles of our stores,” explained Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We believe that the ‘organic’ claim used on personal care products should have just as strong a meaning to the ‘organic’ claim used on food products, which is currently regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program.”
I would love to hear from suppliers who will be affected by the new organic labeling requirements for bath and body products, cosmetics, and other personal care items currently labeled as organic. Are you planning to continue to selling your products in Whole Foods stores? Do you think Whole Foods is doing the right thing? And do you think the August 1 deadline for submitting your plans for compliance to Whole Foods is reasonable?
For more information about the new labeling requirements for products making organic claims, visit Whole Food's blog, The Whole Story.