Organic News

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"USDA Organic" personal care sales explode

Although the figures for 2007 indicate records sales for "organic" personal care products, the majority of those products were not certified under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. It has been two years since the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and Dr. Bronner’s sued the USDA and forced the agency into agreeing to allow personal care products that meet USDA food-grade organic standards to bear the "USDA Organic" seal. USDA organic is still the gold standard for body care products, and OCA anticipates a major expansion of new USDA Organic personal care products in 2008. As a reminder to conscientious consumers, if you don’t see the green "USDA Organic" seal on a personal care product, it may not be as "organic" as it claims to be. If the product holds the USDA seal, it has met the stringent organic standards established for food. If it does not have the seal and claims to be organic, read the ingredient label to be sure you are comfortable with any of the synthetic ingredients that are likely hiding in the product.

Caribou joins Starbucks in phasing out Bovine Growth Hormone

It’s official: The world’s largest coffee purveyor, Starbucks, went rBGH-free. The Organic Consumers Association has been pressuring Starbucks to dump rBGH-derived dairy products the past six years. Not to be outdone by its competitor, Caribou Coffee, the second largest coffehourse operator in the U.S. announced it is also beginning to phase out rBGH from its products.

Splenda goes to court

A federal court has rejected a request for summary judgment in a lawsuit launched by the Sugar Association against Splenda. The plaintiff alleges Splenda, a Johnson & Johnson company, is falsely advertising to consumers with its marketing slogan "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar." Splenda is the synthetic compound sucralose, discovered in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. The artificial sweetener is made by replacing hydroxyl groups in the sugar molecule with chlorine. There are no long-term studies of the side effects of Splenda in humans. The manufacturer’s own short-term studies showed that sucralose caused shrunken thymus glands and enlarged livers and kidneys in rodents. But in this case, the FDA decided that because these studies weren’t based on human test animals, they were not conclusive. As a result, Splenda is now one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in low-calorie processed foods.

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Tim Miejan
Tim Miejan is a writer who served as former editor and publisher of The Edge for twenty-five years. Contact him at [email protected].

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