The debate over the use of term “organic’ has been going on for several years.
The debate centers over what by law constitutes an organic product. When it comes to fruits vegetables and the like, the United States Department of Agriculture sets strict federal standards for organic food labeling. For anything outside of food, the Department of Agriculture has no jurisdiction. Organic has come to mean a particular type of lifestyle and as such can be applied to products that are not wholly organic as the food definition suggests.
Organic hair shampoo will have some petroleum based chemicals as cleaners along with some natural ingredients to lend it an organic flavor or scent. Whole Foods Market prides itself on its extensive line of organic prepared food products and produce. Their philosophy on organic hair shampoo and other personal care products is to not sell items from those companies that are just using “organic” products for marketing, but to seek out companies that use as many natural ingredients as possible along with no petroleum derived or based colors, dyes and scents.
The Organic Trade Association was formed to help make guidelines for certifying organic products for sale to protect the consumer as well as those companies already following the rules on their labeling. Attempts to get a consensus from all of the major manufacturers never got off the ground, but here is what is currently accepted to label your organic hair shampoo. To be “certified organic” a product must contain at least ninety five (95%) certified organic ingredients and a product with at least seventy (70%) percent certified organic ingredients can be labeled “containing organic ingredients”.
Water is a wild card and has not been addressed for consumer products like shampoo and conditioners. Food manufacturers can not use water in their percentage calculations and herbal teas are some times counted as water for organic labeling purposes.