By next year, Whole Foods Market, the US leading retailer of certified organic groceries, will require all personal care products making “organic” claims to get a third-party certification before being sold in its US stores.

The new requirements apply to all personal care products and cosmetics using the word “organic” in any way on the product label, including the use of the word “organic” in the brand name. However, Whole Foods Market will not accept all third-parties certifications. Depending on the type of claims, different certifications are required:

- All products making an “organic” product claim (e.g. “organic shampoo”) will have to be certified tothe United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (USDA NOP) standard, the same standard to which organic food must be certified under U.S. law. These products must contain more than 95% organic ingredients.
- Products making a “made with organic ingredients” claim must also be certified to the NOP standard. These products must contain more than 70% organic ingredients.
- And products making a “contains organic ingredients” claim must be certified to the NSF 305 ANSI Standard for Organic Personal Care products, a consensus-based industry standard accepted by the American National Standards Institute and managed by NSF International.

This choice is highly demanding since the NOP standard was developed for farmed foods, with no consideration for the specificities of cosmetic products.

According to Whole Foods Market, this decision aims at ensuring that claims on product labels are accurate. “Our shoppers do not expect the definition of organic to change substantially between the food and non-food aisles of our stores,” said Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We believe that the ‘organic’ claim used on personal care products should have just as strong a meaning to the ‘organic’ claim used on food products, which is currently regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program.

Whole Foods Market said to be currently working with suppliers to transition their label claims to the meet these standards. The company said that “quite a few” of its suppliers will have “change their labels, reformulate their products and take other measures” to comply with this new rules.