AHPA presents case for organic cosmetics to be included in NOP

By Leah Armstrong

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic cosmetics Organic food Organic certification National organic program

Michael McGuffin, President of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), has lent his support to the CACC recommendation that the National Organic Program (NOP) should be amended to explicitly include cosmetics.

The CACC issued a document on 13 March stating that “organic cosmetics and personal care products should be recognized explicitly by the NOP to ensure that customers and businesses alike have an unquestioned home in the USDA National Organic Program”.

McGuffin confirmed his support and appreciation of this statement at an address to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the committee that sets standards for substances to be used in organic production, on 4 May.

Tackling the problem of mislabeled cosmetics

The proposal sets out a new directive in American regulation of organic produce, since the NOP does not include cosmetics under its definition of ‘agricultural products’.

McGuffin has urged for clarification of this term, which would set standards for organic products ‘based on content, irrespective of the end use of the product’.

According to the CACC, there has been considerable controversy over the issue of whether or not cosmetics are allowed to bear the word ‘organic’ if they are not in full compliance with the NOP.

In failing to recognize organic cosmetics, McGuffin has said that private monitoring standards have developed, apparently leading to inconsistent regulation of organic cosmetics.

The USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, regulates organic cosmetics and personal care products, but only if they apply for USDA certification.

Currently many cosmetics products with USDA approval are allowed to claim organic certification on three levels: ‘100% organic’, ‘organic’ and ‘made with organic’.

A spokesperson for the CACC told Cosmetics Design that “if this CACC document was adopted, as written,private standards would have no place in the marketplace and only products with ‘100% organic’ and ‘organic’ would be allowed to bear the USDA organic certification.​”

Motivations for the consumer and business

The CACC document states that the recognition of organic cosmetics under the NOSB would bring benefits for both the consumer and the marketplace.

The growth of the organic cosmetics sector has been a major trend of late. Establishing a standardized method of regulation under the NOP proposes to bring greater integrity and legitimacy to organic cosmetics.

A finished product certification system will maximize the marketplace for organically grown herbal crops; the vision implied by this point of advocacy is one of many more acres of organically grown herbal crops,” ​said McGuffin.

In addition, increased regulation of the organic cosmetics industry would put to bed escalating controversy over the legitimacy of many products which claim to be organic. The AHPA hope that this system would instill greater consumer trust in organic products.

A formal recommendation to the NOSB will be presented this autumn. If they adopt the recommendation, they will present it to the NOP for enforcement.

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