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Originally published July 20 2010

Whole Foods Market to require organic certification on all health and beauty products

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market will soon require that all health and beauty products it carries that claim to be organic, be certified by either the Agriculture Department's National Organic Program, or NSF International, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based nonprofit certifier. In leiu of the lack of federal oversight of "organic" personal care products, Whole Foods is taking a voluntary next step to improve the quality of products in this category.

It is becoming widely known that personal care products that say they are organic are not necessarily so. Products can say they contain "organic ingredients" or even contain the word "organic" in their name brand, but these terms can be deceptive. Many of these products still contain many of the same artificial and petroleum-derived ingredients that most conventional personal care products do.

And companies get away with this because the laws concerning organics in personal care products are lax. A clear and concise definition of what is "natural" and "organic" has yet to be determined for personal care products, so retailers like Whole Foods are having to take matters into their own hands.

"Manufacturers are not required to provide proof of the safety of any personal care or cosmetic ingredient, let alone its effectiveness, to the government or anyone else," explain Samuel Epstein and Randall Fitzgerald in their book Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Endanger Your Health...And What You Can Do About It.

Beginning on June 1, 2011, any products that claim they are organic but do not bear one of the two organic certifications will be removed from Whole Foods. Products that do not claim to be organic, however, will be allowed to remain, as long as they meet Whole Foods standards.

"We're trying to make it so that our customers don't have to switch standards and expectations when they cross from grocery into the body care aisle," explained Joe Dickson, the Whole Foods quality standards coordinator, in a New York Times article.

Since many personal care product companies rely on Whole Foods as their primary retailer, the new rule will have a noticeable positive influence on the personal care sector. Companies will have to either shape up or face removal, which will help to weed out the "cheater brands" from store shelves.

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