Certification open for NSF’s organic standard

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Companies can now certify to the NSF/ANSI 305 standard for organic personal care and beauty products.

The ‘Contains Organic Ingredients’ seal gives manufacturers an alternative to the USDA’s organic seal which is applicable only to products that are made up of agricultural ingredients and demands 95 percent organic ingredients.

NSF/ANSI 305 has been in development for some time and its official launch follows the successful testing of the standard and certification process on a handful of manufacturers.

“We had to run some products through the system to make sure it was working properly, so there are in fact a few products already on the market carrying the NSF seal,”​ senior vice president of QAI, an organic certifier which certifies to NSF/ANSI 305, Joe Smillie told CosmeticsDesign.com.

This testing period was successful, according to Smillie, and now the standard is open to certification applications.

Hopeful applicants can expect approximately 2 months processing time, from the submission of a full and completed application form; although, the process in total can take up to three months depending on how many modifications need to be made to the application.

Competing standards on global stage

NSF/ANSI 305 joins a number of other personal care and beauty standards available on the international marketplace.

According to market research company Organic Monitor, Germany-based BDIH and France-based Ecocert have the highest take up rates in Europe, whereas Belgium-based NaTrue and the UK’s Soil Association have widespread recognition but lower uptake rates.

Plans for a more harmonized European standard are in the final stages in the form of the Cosmos standard, but this group does not include all of the standard bodies and notably not NaTrue.

In the US, the Natural Products Association offers a natural standard for personal care products, and the USDA offers an organic standard for personal care products based on agricultural products.

However, these standards are by no means national entities and some have significant standing and recognition outside their geographical regions.

Nevertheless, Organic Monitor believes there are significant differences between the markets, notably in certification take-up rates.

In contrast to Europe, where the market research company suggests approximately two thirds of organic and natural products have some form of certification, only 5 percent are certified in the US.

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