Whole Panic! Will they empty the shelves?

This week I have received numerous calls asking: “What can I do to get certified for (you pick the question)…the Whole Foods List…the Whole Foods Standards…the NOP…the NSF…? And then they want to do all of this by June 1st for formulas that already exist and were never designed to meet any of those Standards. Certified by next Wednesday. Yeah, right. I have received “Help!” calls from brands, from private label labs, from cosmetic distributors, and from NOP certifiers who look at ingredient statements of things like: “Cocoamidopropylbetaine, Sodium Cocoaphoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate” . . . and their eyes cross. (Just in case you don’t know, none of these ingredients would pass NOP or NSF). Folks – a few basics: #1 – The NOP Standard is for food. The NOP certifiers are looking for an ingredient statement that includes recognizable food ingredients. (Yes, I know you make cosmetics but…facts are facts). You will need to make sure that your INCI names translate into things like “sunflower oil”, “Non-GMO Vitamin E”, etc. You will not meet the NOP unless you used all food ingredients and a few allowed non-organic food ingredients like citric acid and malic acid. Good luck with that. #2 – The NSF Standard was designed without being tested by real cosmetic companies which means it will change repeatedly over the next few years. (Reminded me of that old line that a camel was a horse designed by a committee). They do NOT have a list of approved ingredients and it does not allow things like most vitamins (no C, no D, no A, etc.) and the only effective preservative it allows is potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. Again, good luck. #3 – Whole Foods sent this letter to their vendors…what, a year ago? Well, 11 months anyway. Now what? Whole Foods decided that the NOP and/or the NSF were the only acceptable standards for their store. They have that right. One might argue that in the interest of promoting organic agriculture it would have served us all if they accepted the other organic standards, but . . . they didn’t and too many companies have waited until now to react. Results? As of today – there are only 2 private labels labs in the US certified to do NSF certified products and it takes a few months to get through the process. There is only 1 certifier offering this standard and my sense is that it is a struggle to get the right documents from their applicants and they are learning as they go. It is a confusing process that is evolving and will get easier – but not before June 1st. There are about 5 brands, (1 large, 4 small) who have gotten products certified.SOOOO – should we start a pool? Who thinks that WF will pull all the non-certified products that are not certified off the shelves next Wednesday? I really don’t know. I also don’t know if they realize how few people have gotten certified. I am working with a few who are trying to get certified – but it won’t be by next week.Stay tuned – this will be interesting!

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