We are Not Interested in Attaching a USDA Organic Seal to Our Products.
This was a decision we considered as we first started our business. One one hand, many people believed that having a USDA seal was a badge that showed quality and purity, to not have the seal meant low, inferior quality and basically, not worth consideration. I started learning all I could about this seal that demanded so much respect that just having one put a product at a higher level, untouchable by unsealed competitors. The more I learned, the less I was interested in being part of this program. I am seal-less, by choice, and I will remain so. I guarantee nobody will prove our products are inferior in any way.
Perhaps someday I will attach an organic seal to our business. It just will not be a USDA Certified Organic seal.
We started out making products for personal use, to help with my youngest child’s eczema. When we began, we hoped that removing questionable and unnatural ingredients from our personal care products would help her skin improve. At first, the most memorable thing we all noticed was the feeling of a smothering coating no longer covering our skin. We felt a strange sensation that could only be described as our skin able to breathe! We were committed to finding out what other changes switching to natural body care resulted in.
Over time, we realized that removing synthetic and petrochemicals not only helped with everyone’s skin, but we all felt better, cleaner, lighter, increased energy and less affected by colds, flu, allergies or other contagious bugs.
My daughters eczema, while not cured, it was managed to where it hardly ever became a fully formed eczema patch.
We tried every available natural & organic ingredient we could get our hands on, hoping to find what offered the best results. We had completely removed all store bought body care, making our own face & body cleansers, moisturizers, serums, shampoo, detangler, clear skin treatments, toothpaste, deodorants, dandruff shampoo, dry skin balms, diaper rash balm, muscle & joint rub, first aid salve (removes burn pain), bath soaks to help with aches, tension, muscle spasms, preparation for labor & delivery and much more.
It has only been the past two years we have been attempting to create a business with the products we have developed over the years. We use the same recipes, using the same ingredients. We have never considered corrupting what we have worked so hard to develop by adding cheap, inferior ingredients used to bulk up the size without adding to the cost.
First things to consider are value and cost:
There is an important aspect to the USDA Organic Certification. #1, it is set up for agriculture. We make Bath & Body care. Although our products are made with natural & organic ingredients and can be assessed and certified by the organic certification program, they are not limited by not having authority over the production, and labeling of cosmetics, body care products, and personal care products that are not made up of agricultural ingredients, or do not make any claims to meeting USDA organic standards.
Unfortunately, for many small businesses, the cost of having your product certified organic is too much. Depending on the certifying agency. The cost can be from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars and that is per product. There are many variables to be considered in the cost. The bottom line is that there are many agricultural products that are just as good and organic, if not better, that are not certified. More than likely these will be the smaller businesses. Do not rule out the small agri-business just because of a lacking certification.
1 United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service; National Organic Program; http://www.ams.usda.gov/about-ams/programs-offices/national-organic-program
Since we started selling our products, time and again, we get asked if our products are “Certified Organic.” Our answer, “No.” is taken like an insult.
When we answer that our products are not certified organic, the most common response is to look at us as if we are attempting to sell them a clump of dirt we just picked up. Then they move on to find someone who does offer Organic Certified products.
If they asked us “Why?” or even if there was any redemptive qualities our products did possess, would allow us to elaborate, maybe help them understand that it is has been our choice, we decided we have lost faith in USDA organic certification. The integrity is missing from the NOSB, the USDA Organic has sold out to big agriculture and corporations that have been systematically downgrading the standards established by congress and organic farmers that created it.
But, allow me to explain the parameters we operate within and explain our self set standards.
We create premium quality products that range from at home, daily use spa treatments to family personal care and even dog shampoo. Every product we create contains the finest quality, all natural, organic, plant based ingredients from both land and sea combines with sea salts, mud and clay. We prefer to use a mixture of USDA organic certified, non-certified (but certifiable) organic and wildcrafted ingredients. When given a choice, we will always choose food grade over cosmetic grade. The ingredients are either raw, unprocessed or minimally processed. Ingredients that are processed chemically are not something we are willing to consider using.
It has always been our decision to avoid using synthetic chemicals, petrochemicals, palm oil of any kind, animal fats or animal testing in our products. We see no benefit to adding water or fillers that only serve to dilute and adulterate the nourishing elements and beneficial properties. Since we carefully select each ingredient for the benefits we hoped to impart, to us, it makes no sense to use these valuable components only to weaken or devalue them by adding water or fillers. Every product we create is 100% natural: either organic or wildcrafted.
We even use a preservative that is 100% natural, does not contain synthetic or petrochemicals, was not processed with chemicals. It contains broad spectrum anti-microbial & anti-fungal properties.
We manufacture our products on site, in small, quality controlled batches. Our manufacturing processes are very strict in order to eliminate unneeded waste or energy. We have no desire to cater to ‘minimum standards.’
We choose to maintain the absolute highest of quality and purity possible. This is by our own choice, not because we have been handed minimum requirements we must meet to qualify for the seal of choice.
Then how do our standards compare to USDA Organic Standards?
According to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations,
(a)“Products sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic.”must contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients. Excluding water or salt.
(b) Products sold, labeled or presented as “organic” must contain not less than 95% organically produced raw or processed agricultural products. (Excluding water and salt) Any remaining ingredients must be organically produced, unless not commercially available in organic form, or must be nonagricultural substances or nonorganically produced agricultural products produced consistent with the National List….”
(c) Products sold, labeled, or represented as “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).”Multiingredient agricultural product sold, labeled, or represented as “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” must contain (by weight or fluid volume, excluding water and salt) at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients which are produced and handled pursuant to requirements in subpart C of this part. No ingredients may be produced using prohibited practices specified in paragraphs…. Nonorganic ingredients may be produced without regard to paragraphs …… If labeled as containing organically produced ingredients or food groups, such product must be labeled pursuant to…”
(d) Products with less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients. The organic ingredients in multiingredient agricultural product containing less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients (by weight or fluid volume, excluding water and salt) must be produced and handled pursuant to requirements in subpart C of this part. The nonorganic ingredients may be produced and handled without regard to the requirements of this part. Multiingredient agricultural product containing less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients may represent the organic nature of the product only as provided in
1 CFR-Title 7: Agriculture Part 205 Subpart D: §205.301 Product composition; http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=095c513c762732aae4335b640e1cf402&node=se7.3.205_1301&rgn=div8
A easier to understand explanation would be:
To use the USDA Organic Seal
95-100% Organic ingredients can use the USDA Organic seal. This 95-100% excludes water and salts. When 95% but less than 100%, the remaining 1-5% (?) must be organically produced unless not commercially available in organic form or must be nonagricultural substances
Who may not use the seal:
To say “Made with Organic Ingredients” (specified ingredients of food groups) on the label, must be made with at least 70% Organic Ingredients, Excluding water and salt. Nonorganic ingredients may be produced without regard to paragraphs…atu
At Spa Secrets 4 U, we do not add water and every product is made with 100% natural & organic ingredients. No exceptions.
Has the USDA Organic program lowered its standards to accommodate big agriculture and corporations?
“When congress passed OFPA it set up an independent advisory board panel, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), that, unlike other advisory boards, has statutory authority. Any synthetic input or ingredient used in organic food production must be reviewed and approved by the NOSB to assure that no chemicals that could pose a threat to human healt or the environment are used in organic food production.
Congress specifically earmarked the majority of the 15 seats on the NOSB for organic farmers, consumers, scientists and environmentalists as a way to balance the power of commercial interests involved in organic food manufacturing, marketing and retail sales.
Long term abuse congressional intent by the USDA which has stacked the board with agribusiness representatives, an illegal practice that has stretched over the past three administrations. ” Cornicopia Institute USDA Organic Watergate-White Paper; http://www.cornucopia.org/USDA/OrganicWatergateWhitePaper.pdf
There is a considerable amount of information by the Cornicopia Institute, an organic watchdog group, helping make known just how weak and questionable the USDA Organic standards have become. From its Sunset list that allows dangerous and even known carcinogens to be used in organic certified products. I don’t think I am willing to spend thousands of $$, too much time and effort to receive a sticker that has lower standards than the ones we set for ourselves.
We do not need a seal to establish minimum standards requirements.
At Spa Secrets 4 U, we surpass the highest quality and purity standards of any certifying body or agency, and we do it by our own choice.