Are you looking for organic soap? Be wary when you find it... read on to find out why.
The USDA runs the program in the United States that certifies food and personal care products as "organic".
The rules for including the word "organic" on a product label state that at least 95% of ingredients must be either certified organic or not be plant or animal based at all, and the non-plant based ingredients must be certified OK for inclusion in the product.
The problem with soap is that, even though there is no sodium hydroxide (lye) in the finished soap, lye makes up more than 5% of the raw ingredients in a bar of soap (it is more like 8-10%), and it is not a certified non-organic ingredient. Also, any ingredient in soap that is not a food ingredient, like micas and oxides for color, or essential oils that are not used in food, are not available as certified organic from any supplier.
For products that are less than 95% and more than 70% approved organic ingredients, there is a labeling rule that allows the inclusion of the words "made from organic ingredients" on the front label. This can be used ONLY if a company is certified organic.
For products less than 70% organic, specific ingredients can be identified as organic. But again, the operation packing the product must be organic certified.
The process of becoming certified costs thousands of dollars, a barrier for the majority of small soapmakers who are not already certified as organic packing facilities.
So how can there be so many soapmakers advertising organic soap out on the market? One likely explanation is that the rules are not understood by most small soapmakers. Another is that the enforcement of USDA rules outside the agriculture industry is not as strict. This allows some companies, either intentionally or unintentionally, to use the power of the word "organic" to their advantage while the rule are still nebulous.
At Flowersong - we have chosen to comply with the USDA rules and not use the word "organic" on our labels. Instead we use the "natural" nomenclature that is suitable for our ingredient list. We use the food grade high quality oils listed below that are sourced from trusted suppliers, some of whom we have over 10 years of experience with! In some cases we use cosmetic bases that would be labeled as an "organic" product if packaged at a certified organic packing facility.
All these oils are fit for human internal consumption, which means that when you put them on your skin, you can be assured that they are wholesome and safe.
- Palm Oil - Halal certified restaurant quality
- Olive Oil - restaurant quality
- Coconut Oil - NSF certified food grade
- Cocoa Butter - USP Food Grade
As an additional quality practice, and as required for our FDA approval (and will be required for organic certification if we do so in the future), our manufacturing process tracks each ingredient through the lots of products that are sold.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions on our products!