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Our Stance on Organic Ingredients

Have you ever wondered why the majority of Plaine Products’ ingredients are not organic? Recently we’ve had several questions about this, and we thought it best to share some insight. We want you to know what the term “organic” means in the personal care industry, the issues with suppliers, and why it’s not something we plan to focus on at this time. Read on to find out why we prioritize ingredients that are toxin-free, and sustainably sourced, over being organic.

Industry (Un)Regulation

While the Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the use of the term “organic” in the food industry, they don’t regulate it in the personal care industry, as that falls outside of their authority. That falls to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).  I use the term ‘regulate’ loosely because the FDA does not define or regulate the term “organic” in regard to personal care products at all. 

However, personal care products can still become organic certified under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), if the product is made up of agricultural ingredients. The product must meet the NOP’s requirements for production, handling, processing, and labeling to be eligible for certification. 

Even so, this doesn’t mean that the NOP has the authority to regulate organic label claims on all personal care products. They can only regulate the products and manufacturing operations that voluntarily choose to meet their organic standards and go through their certification process. With the FDA not defining the term and the NOP only regulating certain companies, this means the term “organic” can be used in the industry without specific proof or certification. This certainly muddies the waters for personal care companies when sourcing their ingredients and finding trustworthy suppliers.

Our Manufacturers’ Reality

While we think it would be great to have a certified organic product, we’ve decided against it for the time being after doing the research and talking closely with our manufacturer. To be able to say “made with organic ingredients” on our labels we would have to use no less than 70% certified organic ingredients. In order to carry the USDA Organic Seal our products would have to have no less than 95% certified organic ingredients.  

These requirements would create a lot more work for the manufacturers to vet these companies to ensure they are actually certified, which would drive up costs. Remember, “organic” isn’t a regulated term by the FDA, so suppliers could be using it without having proof or certification. When speaking with our manufacturer, they felt that it was no longer the best measure to use in selecting suppliers. They are more concerned with the quality of the ingredients, supplier reliability, and distance from the manufacturer. While organic farming practices are beneficial to the environment, the shipping emissions to transport them from farther away could negate the farming benefits. This is a reality we would face if needing to choose from only certified organic suppliers. 

Instead of choosing organic, we prioritize ingredients that are high quality, non-GMO, free of toxins and harsh chemicals, palm oil free, vegan, biodegradable, and as local as we can get. As with all things sustainable, there are always tradeoffs to be made. We want to be transparent about the choices we make. Our goal is to work closely with our manufacturer to ensure you’re getting a safe, effective, environmentally friendly product every time.

If learning about ingredients in your personal care products is interesting to you, stay tuned for our monthly ingredients blog posts! 



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