Officials at the USDA have confirmed that, following an investigation into the formulation of the product line, it has sent an official notice to J&J warning that the product has lost its certification on account its formulation containing an ingredient not on its National List.
Soo Kim, from the USDA department of agriculture, told Cosmetics Design that the ingredient could not be certified as organic on account as it is not on the list of approved ingredients.
"We determined the formulation of the product to be noncompliant; the manufacturer is able to reformulate the product," she said.
Production ceases, case is continuing to be examined
Kim added that the NOP certification authorities have communicated its decision to the company and that it had stopped production of the product. She also said that the NOP was continuing to examine the situation.
Although Johnson & Johnson was contacted to ask how the company is dealing with the current situation, officials did not respond at the time of going to press and there has been no official statement.
Currently the Aveeno Organic Harvest baby care line does not appear on the company’s official website, but it is still available on various other online retail portals and is said to be still available on store shelves in the US, carrying the certified organic label.
Earlier this year J&J took the decision to recall Aveeno baby care lotion products from store shelves in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas after a sample product tested by the FDA exceeded specifications for common bacteria.
But the fact that company has now lost the certification for the Aveeno line is yet another blow for Johnson & Johnson, which is the biggest baby care manufacturers in the world.
J&J pledges to reformulate its entire formulation portfolio
At the end of last year the company came under pressure when the lobby group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics drew attention to potentially harmful ingredients used in its flagship J&J baby care range, demanding that the product line be reformulated to ensure that it did not contain traces of of 1,4 dioxane.
Bowing to pressure, the company announced in August of this year that it would be reformulating its entire US formulation portfolio to ensure that it contains no potentially dangerous chemicals by the end of 2015.
This pledge focused on two potentially hazardous chemicals, 1,4-dioxane and quaternium-15, which have already been removed from J&J products sold in most countries worldwide, but not in the United States.
Aveeno developed as J&J's organic baby care line
J&J bought the Aveeno brand and in 1999 and has developed it as part of its extensive baby care brand portfolio, which also includes the eponymous Johnson & Johnson baby care range.
Over the years the product line has been developed into the company’s natural and organic certified line, tapping into a fast growing market for products that are deemed to be formulated without harsh chemicals, and therefore more suitable for babies.
Currently the Baby Organic Harvest line comprises a comprehensive line up of baby care products, including a foaming wash and shampoo, a diaper rash cream and a lotion.