Why labelling and certification are important


 Soil Association Logo

 

People often ask what is the importance of certified organic products. Surely all organic products have to adhere to certain standards? Well no, actually.

 

Many products on sale are allowed to use the word ‘organic’ or a derivative as long as there are organic ingredients present in the product. This could mean that the product you believe to be ‘organic’ may only have 5% organic content.

 

This is obviously very misleading for the consumer. Especially when the customer is paying a premium for products which they believe to be organic.

 

You might often wonder why some companies charge much more for organic products whilst others can produce them for a tenth of the price. The reason might well be due to the level of organic content.

 

For instance both Boots and Nivea have been in trouble recently about the marketing and labelling of their ‘organic’ products.

 

The Daily Telegraph reported that “Nivea’s Pure And Natural hand cream, which is labelled as “95 per cent natural” but in fact contains methylisothiazolinone, a preservative which is also found in window and floor cleaners and air fresheners”.

 

There are some glaring flaws here in the terminology ‘natural’ if the rest of the product can be made of potentially harmful synthetic chemicals.

 

So, how can you avoid being tricked into buying products with false claims? By buying certified products.

There are a few well reputed certification bodies in the UK for natural and organic goods. The most famous certification for organic goods is The Soil Association.

 

The Soil Association review, and judge all skincare products which are trying to attain their certification. All individual ingredients must be proven to be non-GM, have never been subjected to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or any other artificial processing. All farms from which the ingredients are produced must have been cleared of any chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a minimum of 3 years.

 

On top of all of that, all skincare products must have a minimum of 70% organic content. It is important to remember here that substances such as water, even if it has come from the purest spring, cannot be classified as ‘organic’, making it hard for every product to be 100% organic. Exceptions to this are oils and balms which can often be 100% organic. The Soil Association also strictly control the ingredients which are not classified as totally 'organic'. These ingredients must be natural and each year the rules are evaluated to make sure completely organic alteratives are not available.

 

Chemicals absorbed by the skin end up being processed by our livers. The skin is our body’s largest organ, making you think twice about what you are slathering on. Recently The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warned pregnant women from using unnecessary amounts of products with chemicals in on their skin, saying the effects on unborn babies is not yet know but there could be detrimental effects.

 

False ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ claims in these cases could potentially cause serious problems

 

So, in conclusion, it is very important that products are labelled correctly, marketed accurately, and certified to prove they are genuine.

 

Willow’s skincare products are all Soil Association certified organic, so you know what you are getting.

 

 

Links to references

 

Telegraph article read here

BBC News article read here