Safety is a serious business, and Earth Mama's® mission for over a decade has been to formulate safe, herbal products that work, and we voluntarily send products out for third party verification to be sure every single lot is Safe as Mama’s Arms®. Why bother? Because Mama is a real person -- a nurse, herbalist, mother and grandmother -- and she takes your baby’s safety to her heart. It’s true, “If it doesn’t measure up to Mama’s standards it doesn’t leave the building.”
It takes a lot of time, effort and money to earn USDA Organic (U.S. Department of Agriculture), Non-GMO Project and NSF (The Public Health and Safety Organization) certifications, and the personal care product playing field is very confusing. Words like “natural,” “pure,” or “organic” do not guarantee safety, and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) have surprisingly very limited roles in policing the safety and organic claims of personal care products. The only way to know for sure if a label is honest is to check each ingredient (EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database is a good resource) or check to see if it’s certified by a third party. But what does that even mean?
The words “100% Organic” on the label are the legal organic claim. If the product being certified is one ingredient (like lettuce), it’s easy to know if it’s certified 100% organic. If the product is a blend of several ingredients (like an herbal tea), each of the ingredients is required to be 100% organic. If even one of the ingredients is certified only 99.99% organic, the 100% claim cannot be made.
The word “Organic” on a product label, along with a trustworthy certifier, means that the ingredients are 95-99.9% organic. Any non-organic ingredient must not be available as organic, and must be on the USDA approved list, which does not allow GMO’s, prohibited substances, artificial fragrances, dyes, or other potentially harmful ingredients. The only claim word that can be on the label is the word “Organic.”
USDA Certified “Made With Organic” means that 70-94.9% of the ingredients are certified organic. BUT, the USDA symbol is not allowed on the front panel of the product. The company logo may not include the word organic even though it is certified. The front label claim can only say, “Made with organic” whatever the ingredient is. IT’S CONFUSING! But at least 70% of the ingredients must be certified organic, and the remaining ingredients must be on the USDA approved list, which does not allow GMO’s, prohibited substances, artificial fragrances, dyes, or other potentially harmful ingredients.
The USDA list of approved raw materials does not allow even for some of the safe chemical processes necessary to make personal care products, so an equivalent standard for personal care products called the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard was created. NSF/ANSI 305 products must have 70% or more organic ingredients, and the remaining raw materials must be on the USDA approved list, which does not allow GMO’s, prohibited substances, artificial fragrances, dyes, or other potentially harmful ingredients.
The Non-GMO Project is North America’s only independent verification for products made according to best practices for GMO avoidance. Their process scrutinizes every product ingredient, from soil to seed, to plant. While the USDA NOP Organic certification does not allow for GMOs, they also do not test for or certify to that standard. This does not assure that a product is organic.