Addressing organic claims on non-agricultural products

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a study on consumer perceptions of organic claims,  and announced it will host a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on October 20 to help the two agencies better understand how consumers perceive “organic” claims made on non-agricultural products such as personal care products and textiles. The roundtable is open to the public, and FTC welcomes written comments, including further evidence of consumer perceptions. The comment period for written comments will remain open until December 1. This action comes as a result of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) participating in numerous meetings with FTC and the National Organic Program, and submitting extensive comments urging FTC to exercise its consumer protection authority and take action against the fraudulent and misleading use of the term “organic” on products that fall outside of NOP’s scope of authority (such as shampoo, t-shirts, mattresses, household cleaners). OTA will attend the roundtable event and submit comments. OTA is in the initial stages of reviewing the study, and will convene a task force to help shape comments on how to best address consumer deception and education. Interested in learning more, or in participating in a task force? Contact Gwendolyn Wyard, OTA’s Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs.