Natural and organic certification developed specifically for cosmetics

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Quality assurance international, Organic certification, Product certification

A Canadian organisation offers North American producers organic and
natural standards specifically designed for cosmetics and personal
care products.

Previously, American cosmetics manufacturers have been relying on either the USDA standards which are designed for food products and demand high proportions of organic ingredients, or standards provided by the European certification bodies, such as Ecocert. Toronto-based Certech Registration claims: "This state of affairs is confusing for producers and consumers, who, up to now did not have access to a clear independent definition of organic cosmetics." First European-style standards for US ​ Certech claims to be the first organization to offer European-style standards to the American market although NSF International is currently discussing its standards that if agreed upon should be introduced late Spring. "With this standard we aim to bring clarity to natural and organic cosmetics products and create trust among consumers,"​ said president of Certech Registration Brian Lane. The standard conforms to already existing international guidelines and regulations, according to the organisation. Furthermore it offers both a natural and an organic standard with the same requirements as France-based certification body Ecocert. In order to qualify for the natural standard at least 95 per cent of the ingredients must be of natural origin and 50 per cent of the plant ingredients must be certified organic, as must 5 per cent of the overall ingredients. Similarly the natural and organic standard requires 95 per cent of ingredients must be of natural origin. However, in addition 95 per cent of the plant ingredients must be certified organic and 10 per cent of the overall ingredients. The organization will also investigate manufacturing practices which must not produce toxins if the product is to be awarded natural or organic certification. In addition, the packaging of certified products must be recyclable. Furthermore, Certech refers to the standard as hybrid - meaning that it addresses many factors of the production process, including effective product monitoring and calibration and compliance with legal requirements. NSF's proposed standards​ Certification body NSF International has also been developing both a fully organic standard and a 'made with' standard for personal care manufacturers. While the NSF organic standard is identical to the USDA's, the 'made with' standard differs in a way that enables manufacturers moving in an organic direction to become certified. To obtain the 'made with' standard, manufacturers will not be allowed to use petroleum-based ingredients or processes However, several processes and ingredients banned in the USDA's equivalent will be permitted by the NSF, including certain synthetic preservatives and biodegradable surfactants. One of the attractive qualities of the NSF standard is the branding power that NSF has with US consumers, said David Bronner (president of USDA certified organic Dr Bronner Soaps) who was involved in the development of the NSF standards. "Big US manufactures have been waiting for the NSF standard, which has branding power, that European certification bodies don't have,"​ added Bronner, who was involved in the development of the NSF standards.

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