What Does It Mean to Be Certified Organic?

“Certified Organic” is referenced several times throughout the article, and it is appropriate to define how we are using the term—especially because the industry still is trying to resolve these definitional issues. In this context, the USDA Organic certification is being regarded as “truth.” And while it could (and has been) argued that other certifications are equivalent (or even better) because they have been adapted to beauty products, at Nourish we like the simplicity of saying we used the same certification standards on Nourish as the USDA uses for organic fruits and vegetables. No exceptions. No differences. It makes for an easy-to-communicate marketing story, and it makes sense because you’re essentially putting on your body the same ingredients you put in your body.

However, there are other well-meaning and robust organic certifications that are emerging as viable additional alternatives, including the NSF-ANSI 305 standard, as well as various Euro options. Avalon Organics is an example of a brand that recently restaged its line-up to meet the NSF standards.

Ultimately, being certified organic is as much about what ingredients are in the product as what ingredients are not included in the product. Claiming organic while also including parabens, phthalates, GMOs, petrolatum, petrochemicals, silicones, mineral oils, propylene glycol, sulfates, artificial dyes and so on is disingenuous at best, and just plain deceptive at worst. Fundamentally, consumers are looking for less processed, less artificial ingredients in their food and in the products they put on their bodies.

Until a broader consensus is achieved, many would agree that the USDA Certification is the toughest, most trusted, easiest to understand, and most consistent organic standard, and one which several brands mentioned in the article already have been able to meet.