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Dr Bronner’s calls for monetary damages in lawsuit against naturals players

By Katie Bird , 02-Jul-2009
Last updated the 02-Jul-2009 at 17:55 GMT

Dr Bronner’s is now calling for monetary damages in an on-going legal battle against what it believes to be misbranded ‘organic’ cosmetics.

The natural soaps company originally brought the lawsuit against a number of players including Hains Celestial (Jason Nautrals and Avalon Ogranics brands), Levlad (Nature’s Gate) and the certification bodies OASIS and Ecocert, back in April 2008.

In the original lawsuit Dr Bronner’s asked that the companies cease to market products with organic in the product name unless they meet USDA National Organic Program specifications, which it believes represents consumers’ expectations of the term organic.

Damages for loss of sales

The company has now upped the stakes and is asking for damages incurred through loss of sales to what it alleges are falsely advertised organic products.

In the second amended complaint presented July 1 at the San Francisco Superior Court, Dr Bronner’s is calling for the profits made from the sale of the defendants allegedly mislabelled organic products to be awarded to the company.

In addition, it asks for monetary compensation for the diversion of sales from Dr Bronner’s to the defendants.

According to David Bronner, president of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the defendants ‘organic’ products are composed of conventional rather than organic cleansing and moisturizing ingredients, with organic ingredients or extracts added for and ‘organic greenwash’.

“Organic consumers expect that the main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients in ‘organic’ or ‘organics’ products are in fact made from organic material, and are not simply conventional formulations with some organic tea on top,” he said.

“If defendants cannot live up to their organic claims they need to drop those claims,” he added.

Certifiers OASIS and Ecocert are being asked in the lawsuit to stop certifying products organic that could not be certified under the USDA national organic program.

Dr Bronner’s claims that Estee Lauder, which appeared in the original complaint, has been dropped from the second amendment as ‘it has in fact not in fact entered the market under its Aveda brand with OASIS as it had earlier threatened to do’.

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