Thousands of products on sale in the UK make organic claims but contain ingredients that would not be permitted in certified organic products, according to the Soil Association.
The membership charity and certification body commissioned a survey of 1,000 women aged 18 to 65 and found 76% felt misled by labelling that marked some products as “organic” even though they weren’t independently certified, and contained some ingredients that wouldn’t be permitted under organic standards.
These and other beauty brands have been accused of “greenwashing” by The Soil Association and organic product campaigners.
The research produced a league table of health and beauty products with labels that suggest to consumers that they are wholly or mainly organic yet are not independently certified, even including some with the word “organic” in the brand name. Two Dr Organic products and one from The Organic Pharmacy made the list. 72% of respondents said they would lose trust in brands on the list. 69% said they believed the labelling was misleading and should be against the law, though all products used in the research carry legal labelling and ingredients.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett. “The labels on products we encountered were littered with confusing terms. Our research shows that it is very difficult for consumers to know they are making the right choice when doing their shopping.”
The Soil Association’s Come Clean About Beauty campaign is calling on consumers to demand that brands come clean about their organic and natural claims.