Sadly, we all know that even if a product claims to be 100% natural, the ingredients can say otherwise. As the market for Natural and Organic products continues to expand it can be hard to differentiate products that claim to be "Organic" and/or "Natural". Different labels have emerged which help to define products so that consumers can make more informed decisions. Below is a current list of the different certification labels for natural and organic products. For more in depth info click the icon representing each certification.
The Natural Seal
Individual products must meet standard guidelines set out by the Natural Products Association to merit bearing the natural seal. Products must be made of at least 95 percent natural ingredients derived from purposeful, renewable sources found in nature ie.(flora, fauna, mineral). The only time synthetic ingredients are permitted is when viable natural alternative ingredients are unavailable and when the synthetics are absolutely not suspected to pose an health risks. Approved synthetics do not allow for processes that significantly or adversely alter the purity/effect of the natural ingredients or otherwise dilute purity. At least 60% of a brand's products must adhere to the standards in order for an individual item to carry the seal.
Premium Body Care
Whole Foods Market has developed the Premium Body Care standard and certification seal of approval for more than 1200 items sold in Whole Foods Stores. Products that carry this seal must contain ingredients that are minimally processed, and have little environmental impact. The Premium Body Care standard allows only mild preservatives, such as potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, which are unlikely to cause skin irritations or allergies . Parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as diazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin are unacceptable. The standard allows only the most gentle types of surfactants available, including decyl polyglucose and sodium stearoyl lactylate. In addition, fragrances must only be made from natural essential oils.
BDIH (Certification Natural Cosmetics)
The German BDIH offers a certified natural cosmetics seal to companies that use natural ingredients like high-quality plant-based oils, fats and waxes, herbal extracts, floral waters or essential oils and aromatherapy fragrances, obtained wherever possible from controlled biological cultivation, or controlled biological wild collection. No organic-synthetic dyes, synthetics fragrances, ethoxylated raw materials, silicon, paraffin or other mineral oil derivatives are used. Products that receive this seal do no harm to the eco system and use eco friendly packaging. Ingredients from fair trade and third world projects are supported.
OASIS (Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards)
The OASIS seal sets new standards and clarity in the dynamic and fast-growing field of organic beauty and personal care products. Products with the organic seal must contain at least 85% certified organic content. Anything labeled "made with organic" must contain 70% organic content. Oasis will increase the required percentages starting in 2010. The Organic Standard is the first of several standards that OASIS plans to create in order to support and protect organic and sustainable consumer goods.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products. The NOP also accredits the certifying agents (foreign and domestic) who inspect organic production and handling operations to certify that they meet USDA standards. If a lotion, soap, or shampoo has at least 95% organic ingredients according to USDA standards it carries the seal of approval.
NSF (The Public Health & Safety Company)
The NSF Mark for organic personal care products can be found on millions of consumer, commercial, and industrial products. Later this year personal organic care products with NSF seal of approval will read "made with X % organic ingredents". The standards also prohibit ingredients that are not considered organic, including ethoxylated ingredients and synthetic fragrances.
The Soil Association
The soil association's organic symbol is the UK's most recognizable trademark for organic produce and UK's leading environmental charity promoting sustainable, organic farming and human health. A product with the British Soil Association Organic Standard must contain a minimum of 95% organic to be labeled organic. Other products may display a modified version of the symbol if at least 70% of the ingredents are deemed safe for environmental, human, animal, and marine life welfare standards. They also certify and label timber and wood products from well managed forests worldwide.
The French Ecocert certification symbol is applied to all products that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), meneral oil, synthetic fragrance, ethoxylation, parabens, and animal testing . Ecocert certification guarantees that 95% of a products ingredients are "natural or from natural origin", and at least 50% of the vegetable ingredients are certified organic.