Recently, I was looking at buying an organic shampoo …. (or what I thought was organic). To protect the not so innocent, the brand was called ‘U……….….. Organic’. It was easily mistaken for a wholesome product since the label made many indications that this company prioritized organic, chemical free and healthy ingredients. Surely, the average consumer looking for healthy alternatives would pick up this product thinking it was a good option? I certainly did.
As it turns out this product does not have the endorsement of any Australian (or international) organic standard groups. Products that are organically certified and undergoing strict testing by independent third-party groups, will have one (or more) of the following logos. Here are a number of logos of the more well known organic certifiers from Australia and overseas.
Each of these organic certifiers has their own standards, some being stricter than others. As it turns out the standards of organic certification are very, shall we say, broad. So that you can make informed and educated choices when purchasing your products, you really should be aware of these differences. Because of this I will dedicate a number of blogs over the next few weeks discussing each of these certifiers so you know the best products to choose.
Meanwhile back at our not-so-fabulous shampoo branded ‘U………. Organic’. The ingredient list completes more of the story. As it turns out of the sixteen ingredients listed on the label, only three are stated to be organic. This is despite the product being labeled ‘U……… Organic’. What’s more, these three organic ingredients are listed way down the ingredient list at numbers 9, 10, 11. This means the amount used of each ingredient is quite minor. It is legislated that the ingredients with the highest amounts of concentrations be listed first. That’s why in cosmetic and personal care products water will often be the first ingredient listed since typically it can make up anywhere between 50-80% of the product. Yes that’s right – that’s some expensive water you’re buying.
In Australia there are many reputable companies producing outstanding organic products for the market. However as consumers we must be aware of the word ‘organic’ and not just trust the word on face value. As per my experience stated above, not all manufacturers of health and beauty products are doing the right thing. Let’s continue to become even more informed about products being offered to us so that we can make the best choices for our long term health.
Next week we will start to look at the organic certifiers so you will know the best options to look for when shopping.