Friday, January 15, 2010
When nobody's going organic because they've already gone!
The corporations named in the complaint are The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.; Kiss My Face Corporation; YSL Beaute, Inc. (“YSL”); Giovanni Cosmetics, Inc. (“Giovanni”); Cosway Company, Inc. (“Cosway”); Country Life, LLC (“Country Life”); Szep Elet LLC (makers of Ilike Organic Skin Care); Eminence Organic Skin Care, Inc.; Physicians’ Formula Holdings, Inc. (makers of Organic Wear); Surya Nature, Inc.; Organic Bath Company, Freeman Beauty Division of pH Beauty Labs, Inc. (makers of Freeman Goodstuff Organics)."
According to the news release, which you can read in its entirety here, www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/index.cfm , the USDA is rather lax about policing personal care labeling, while much more strict about food products. I couldn't tell from the article whether that's because the law actually only regulates food labeling and not toiletries, or whether it's just a resource allocation choice made by the feds.
Either way, I think it's quite fair to expect that raw materials in a product labeled organic do, in fact, have organic origins. And, I sometimes do spend more to get that benefit. And I do feel misled by these companies, if, in fact, the law suit's claims are accurate.
link here, On the other hand, if their practices are truly organic, I really don't care whether they've paid for the certification or not. I just care if I'm getting good, local, organic produce. If certification is out of reach financially, especially for the type of small- to medium-size farm that is often at the forefront of organic agriculture, then I want to accept their produce and support their practices. The last thing I want to do is have these farms put out of business due to the price of certification. And honestly, the price for those GNFF eggs was within the realistic range for the non-wealthy among us. If certification is pushing the price of organics into the luxury range, that's totally counter-productive. By the way, the 6.7 oz. bottle of Intelligent Nutrient Organic Hairspray (top right) retails for a whopping $29. Organic needs to become the norm, not the luxury alternative it is now.
Yes, I get that the certification assists consumers in being confident, and thwarts greenwashing and deceptive marketing practices. And to prove the point, I recently took a great walking tour of a four-generation family-owned vineyard in Sonoma (Kunde) where I heard a lot about sustainable practices, and was shown row upon row of large, covered compost heaps piled up on the hill. But then we walked by a large fertilizer tank, and I suddenly realized that I had not once heard the term "organic," and while they were busy hawking what was good and green, they had opted for half-measures. I felt a little hoodwinked.
So, the jury is out as of yet on the defendant companies named above. Are they supporting growers like GNFF, or are they misleading the public like Kunde?
Although really, I'm not sure I want to rag on Kunde. They're moving in the right direction, which is better than most. I live for the day when nobody's going organic, because they've a-a-l-r-e-a-d-y gone!
Read here about Kunde's sustainability practices: http://www.kunde.com/
More about Good Natured Family Farms, http://www.goodnatured.net/our_story/story.html