Comments to the European Cosmetics Standards Working Group on the “Cosmos” Cosmetic Organic Standard Consultation Draft of November 3, 2008
December 19, 2008
As representative of over 1600 members in every aspect of the organic farming, processing, distribution and retail supply chain for food, organic textiles, personal care products, and more, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is pleased to have this opportunity to comment on the Cosmos standard. OTA has been involved in encouraging organic agriculture since 1985.
Organic agriculture is the foundation of all aspects of the organic trade. OTA supports the growth of the organic trade in large part because of the environmental benefits of organic agriculture. OTA values the success of personal care organic standards in support of the growth of a robust, worldwide organic personal care market. In order to support this we would like to offer the following observations that, if considered in this new standard, would support CosmoBio success in markets beyond Europe.
In line with the OTA mission to support increased organic agricultural production, we note that the 20% minimum content limits the CosmoBio standard in encouraging the use of organic feed stock for ingredient creation. It is in the interests of the organic trade as a whole to have as much consistency as possible between organic product claims. OTA urges the Working Group to adopt requirements that reflect as closely as possible the analogous requirements for organic food handling (processing). Specifically, in both the US and the EU, the 20% minimum could be very confusing to consumers, who have learned to expect a minimum of 70% organic content in products bearing a front-panel label organic claim. (This would of course not be the case for products labeled “natural”.)
In addition, we would like to be sure that members of the Working Group are aware that the California Organic Products Act of 2003 (COPA) requires a minimum of 70% organic content by weight for personal care products sold in the State of California (see Appendix). OTA strongly encourages the Working Group to include this minimum content standard. Please note in this regard that COPA prescribes a method for calculating organic content by weight.
In addition to this general comment, OTA has a few specific comments. OTA also urges CosmoBio not to include the allowances for hexane-extracted tocopherols, alkylation, and gamma irradiation of clay. Non-GMO, non-solvent-extracted tocopherols are readily available; OTA does not believe that consumers seeking organic products would knowingly accept the use of alkylation; and US standards prohibit the use of ionizing radiation.
Regarding the consultation point under Cosmos-standard 9.1—product name, OTA believes that only products containing at least 95% organic should be allowed to use the word “organic” in the product name. This is consistent with the USDA National Organic Program regulation.
Cosmetic Provisions in the California Organic Products Act of 2003
SEC. 50. Section 110838 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:
110838. (a) Cosmetic products sold, labeled, or represented as organic or made with organic ingredients shall contain, at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients.
(b) The percentage of all organically produced ingredients in an agricultural product sold, labeled, or represented as "organic" or "100 percent organic," or sold, labeled, or represented as being made with organic ingredients or food groups, or as inclusive of organic ingredients, shall be calculated as follows:
(1) For products containing organically produced ingredients in solid form, by dividing the total net weight of combined organic ingredients at formulation, excluding water and salt, by the total weight of the finished product, excluding water and salt.
(2) For products containing organically produced ingredients in liquid form, by dividing the fluid volume of all organic ingredients, excluding water and salt, by the fluid volume of the finished product, excluding water and salt. If the liquid product is identified on the principal display panel or information panel as being reconstituted from concentrates, the calculation should be made on the basis of single-strength concentrations of the ingredients and finished product.
(3) For products containing organically produced ingredients in both solid and liquid form, by dividing the combined weight of the solid ingredients and the weight of the liquid ingredients, excluding water and salt, by the total weight of the finished product, excluding water and salt.
(c) The percentage of all organically produced ingredients in an agricultural product must be rounded down to the nearest whole number.
(d) The percentage of all organically produced ingredients in an agricultural product must be determined by the handler who affixes the label to the consumer package and verified by the handler's certifying agent. The handler may use information provided by the certified operation in determining the percentage.
SEC. 51. Section 110839 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:
110839. Multi-ingredient cosmetic products sold as organic in California with less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients, by weight or by fluid volume, excluding water and salt, may only identify the organic content as follows:
(a) By identifying each organically produced ingredient in the ingredient statement with the word "organic" or with an asterisk or other reference mark that is defined below the ingredient statement to indicate the ingredient is organically produced.
(b) If the organically produced ingredients are identified in the ingredient statement, by displaying the product's percentage of organic contents on the information panel.