In a first-ever test of California's law regarding organic personal care products (think hair and skincare products, even toothpaste), the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health (CEH) announced today that it has reached settlement with 11 companies, ones that make national-brand products labelled organic, but were not organic under California law. The 2003 California Organic Products Act (COPA) requires products labelled "organic" to contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients.
Earlier this year, CEH spent hours shopping at national retailers, including Target, Walgreens, Whole Foods and others, selecting products labelled "organic." In June, the CEH filed lawsuits against more than two dozen manufacturers, saying specific products did not meet the standard and were in violation of state law.
In the agreements announced today, 11 companies have agreed to comply with COPA, either by increasing the amount of organic ingredients or by removing the word "organic" from their label. The agreement further requires companies to make their ingredient records available to CEH for inspection.
"This is a victory for organic consumers who deserve to get what they pay for when they buy 'organic' labeled personal care products," said Michael Green, CEH's Executive Director. "We expect all companies with improper organic labels to agree to these terms and comply with the law."
The companies have until March 31, 2012 to change their products' formulation or change the label.
Lawsuits against 23 other companies that manufacture products in violation of COPA are still going forward.