In less than a year from now, all personal care products and cosmetics making an "organic" claim sold in Whole Foods Market Inc.'s U.S. stores must be third-party certified.


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Whole Foods: 'Organic' H&BAs must be certified

June 18th, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas – In less than a year from now, all personal care products and cosmetics making an "organic" claim sold in Whole Foods Market Inc.'s U.S. stores must be third-party certified.

The specialty supermarket chain said Friday that those health and beauty aids products must achieve organic certification by June 1, 2011, in order to be on shelves in its U.S. locations.

"At Whole Foods Market, our shoppers do not expect the definition of organic to change substantially between the food and nonfood aisles of our stores," Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market, said in a statement. "We believe that the 'organic' claim used on personal care products should have just as strong a meaning to the 'organic' claim used on food products."

Under the new policy, Whole Foods said, all products making an organic product claim — such as "organic shampoo" — must be certified to the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) standard.

Products making a "made with organic ingredients" claim must also be certified to the NOP standard, while products making a "contains organic ingredients" claim must be certified to the NSF 305 ANSI Standard for Organic Personal Care products, a consensus-based industry standard accepted by the American National Standards Institute and managed by NSF International.

The USDA has said that personal care products can be certified to the NOP standard, but such certification is not mandatory for nonfood products, according to Whole Foods. The retailer stated that "to honor the authenticity of the organic label" it is requiring organic certification to make sure that claims on product labels are accurate.

Whole Foods reported that it's now working with suppliers to transition their label claims to the meet the following standards:

• Products making an "organic" product claim must be certified to the USDA's National Organic Program standard for organic (greater than 95%) products.

• Products making a "made with organic [blank]" claim must be certified to the NOP standard for made with organic (greater than 70%) products.

• Products making a "contains organic [blank]" claim must be certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Organic Personal Care Standard.

• And for products listing an organic ingredient in their "ingredients" listing, the organic ingredient must be certified to the NOP standard.

Suppliers who are making an organic claim have until Aug. 1, 2010, to submit their plans for compliance and until the beginning of next June to be in full compliance, Whole Foods said.

The retailer has a total of 295 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

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