USDA Reverses April Decision on Organic Labels for Cosmetics
USDA has reversed an April decision to remove USDA Organic labels from cosmetics, the AP/Billings Gazette reports (Quaid, AP/Billings Gazette, 8/24).
USDA developed the organic label in 2002 to identify products as all-natural, nonsynthetic substances grown or manufactured without the use of pesticides, fertilizer, biotechnology or radiation. At that time, products eligible for the organic label included food, cosmetics and personal-care items, pet food, dietary supplements, textiles and fish.
Barbara Robinson, director of the USDA National Organic Program, earlier this year said that cosmetics were "under the jurisdiction" of FDA and that the organic label was never authorized for cosmetics and personal-care items (American Health Line, 6/3). However, USDA officials have decided that any product that follows agency rules is eligible for the organic label.
David Bronner, president of a California-based organic soap company Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, said that the organic label was "really the only way to distinguish ourselves from the rampant, misleading claims" of other companies.
Bronner and the Organic Consumers Association in June filed a lawsuit against USDA over the decision to exclude cosmetics from eligibility for the organic label. Bronner said that he expects the withdrawal of the lawsuit within 30 days (Vincent, Los Angeles Times, 8/25).