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Publication Title | FORMAL RECOMMENDATION BY THE NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD (NOSB) TO THE NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM (NOP)

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FORMAL RECOMMENDATION BY THE NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD (NOSB) TO THE NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM (NOP)
Date: December 10, 2009 ____
Subject: Organic Personal Care
Chair: Jeff Moyer ______________
___
Recommendation
The NOSB hereby recommends to the NOP the following:
Rulemaking Action: Guidance Statement: Other:
__X_ __ ____X____ ________
Summary Statement of the Recommendation (including Recount of Vote):
The National Organic Standards Board recommends that organic personal care products be recognized explicitly by the National Organic Program to ensure consumers and businesses alike that the products have an unquestioned home in the USDA National Organic Program.
This recommendation takes the initial steps toward:
1) assuring consumers that the federal government is policing organic claims on personal care products 2) allowing for the development of a complete federal organic personal care product program
The organic personal care policy statement of the USDA on August 23, 2005 extended the USDA regulations to cover the organic claims made by personal care products which meet the composition requirements for organic food. With this recognition has come the full force of certification and enforcement. While this is an improvement over what previously existed, an ever-increasing stream of personal care products making organic claims continues to flow in to the market place. In an April 2008 news bulletin, the NOP further explained USDA organic certification of cosmetics, body care products, and personal care products. Most recently, in July 2009, the NOP published a “DRAFT FOR COMMENT ONLY: Certification and Labeling of Soap Products Made From Agricultural Ingredients.” None of these statements were developed through the Federal Rulemaking process, neither is it certain how durable these various statements will be at NOP .
The USDA is responsible for product organic claims but is not currently enforcing this in the area of personal care products. Consumers are not assured that organic claims are consistently reviewed and applied to the class of products known as personal care products. For instance, at a given retailer, one may find personal care products such as shampoos and lotions labeled as “organic” with no clear standards or regulatory underpinning for the organic claim--and unless the product is specifically labeled as “USDA Organic,” the word “organic” may be used with impunity. Manufacturers of personal care products that contain organic ingredients are hindered by a thicket of competing private standards and confusion regarding the applicability of the NOP to their products. Transactions lack the regulatory clarity that applies under the NOP to food products that contain organic ingredients. Given the pace of development of this marketplace, and the important but uneven development of private standards, the NOP should take the necessary initial steps to bring this product class into a coordinated existence with organic food products under the regulation.
NOSB Vote: Motion: Joe Smillie Second: Barry Flamm
Board vote: Yes - 12 No- 1 Abstain- 0 Absent - 2
Summary Rationale Supporting Recommendation (including consistency with OFPA and NOP):
Response by the NOP:

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