Sales of organic products are on the rise, and growth rates average over 20% per year. Because of this, many companies are trying to ride the wave by offering “organic” products for sale. But what does “organic” mean? And, important to everyone, how do organic standards apply to soap and skin care products?
The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) provides the benchmark, global standard for defining what it means for a product to be organic. Within the NOP, there are three levels of certification. A product’s classification is based on the amount of its organic ingredients taken as a percentage of its total ingredients (without counting water or salt). Here’s what the levels mean, and how the standards apply to soap and skin care.
1) “100% Organic”
This means just what the name implies. Dried organic herbs are a perfect example.
The category “Organic” applies to products containing a minimum of 95% organic contents by weight. Usually, these are products that contain a small amount of a natural preservative or processing aid that prevents them from reaching the 100% mark. For example, many fixed oils (such as palm and coconut oil) contain a trace amount of citric acid to increase their shelf life. Importantly, these trace ingredients must conform to the USDA’s list of approved ingredients that can be used in organic products.
3) “Made with Organic…”
“Made with Organic…” applies to products that contain a minimum of 70% organic content but do not reach the 95% mark. The USDA has determined that 70% is the minimum amount of organic content a product can have and still use the terminology of “organic” in its labels and marketing. Here too, a product’s ingredients that are not-certified organic must conform with the USDA’s list of allowable products. THE ” Made with Organic ” category is the most misrepresented and improperly marketed category for soap and skin care. As a consumer, this is the most important category to understand.
At Maatee, our natural plant based soap bars are made with a minimum of 85% organic ingredients, here in the USA. Our soap bars are hand inspected and packed, Vegan, all natural with no hidden ingredients and non-GMO ingredients. Our natural plant based soap bars are biodegradable, and cruelty free (no animal testing). We use 100% recycled boxes for our packaging and our labels are printed using vegetable based inks. These bars are certified organic under the USDA Natural Organic Program by the Montana Department of Agriculture.