Have you purchased an ‘organic’ product lately? How did you know if it was biodynamic, natural or organic? The Label?
Today I would like to simplify the terms Natural and Organic when it comes to organic skincare and organic baby products. This quick and simple guide aims to inform and empower you as a parent who is looking for the very best for their baby.
Being an empowered consumer is increasingly important when there are less ethical companies using the words Natural and Organic to sell a product rather than actually describe the purity level or ingredient focus of their ethical product.
As a new parents, we all love a good baby bargain. We like the best baby products at the cheapest price. While this is sometimes possible, price is actually one of the ways you can tell a product must have a mix of some natural ingredients but plenty of non natural cheap fillers.
When it comes to baby skincare, anything under $10 needs a lot of scrutiny! It usually has a mix of natural and non natural ingredients to achieve this price. Remember, a product can have the word organic and natural on the label with only one little ingredient that is mixed with standard cheap ingredients.
You can face serious consequences in Australia if products that have been labelled ‘organic’ are not in fact organic. While Australia has laws that protect customers from being misled about goods and services they purchase, there is a real grey area when it comes to natural products.
The most common example of this in skincare is “derived from coconuts” It makes it sounds natural but “derived” indicates a lot more is going on. Another example is Vodka. This alcoholic drink could be called natural when it starts being made from potatoes, but a lot happens in the processing and the additives before it ends up in a bottle called Vodka. Is it still natural?
In many cases, “organic” is used inappropriately but it is a grey area. Annie Gunn explains the organic labelling certification requirements
A business in Australia is not allowed to make statements or representations that are incorrect or are likely to create a false impression in the mind of the consumer. This protection is managed by the ACCC and the TGA. But how is this managed or policed? If you don’t place an official complaint or question for the ACCC to investigate, a lot of companies simply get away with it.
In 2018, the first baby skincare company was fined for incorrect labelling. The business was built on huge supermarket and pharmacy distribution over a 15 yr period but it was only after 15 yrs and an official complaint being made that they were fined. You can read the ACCC ruling on Gaia Baby Skincare here.
It is actually up to us as consumers to be aware and question labels. There is no official approval process for any product to go through. There are guidelines to follow but no company has to get their label “checked” before they print and make it look pretty on a shelf. Shocking right?
Look for the LOGO!
There is no one out there doing it for you. Until there is! That is the role of concerned citizen groups, families and communities. To question authority, to express concern and to use the right channels to complain or question. We are lucky to have formal complaint bodies in Australia. But we still have to take the first step to question.
Having said that, there are private companies that offer an independent certification service. Nature’s Child Baby Skincare Products uses ACO. Australian Certified Organic. We voluntarily put our products through a process of scrutiny and certification so that our customers have independent verification of our product claims, organic ingredient claims, GMO free claims. We call it Truth on Label.
This should not have to be something special! But sadly it is. You can look for this ACO logo on other products too. Always look for this logo if a label says organic. Be an aware consumer!
Related Reading – Nature’s Child Organic Certification
It is why sell via the Inner Origin shopping platform with multiple shopping categories that has an approval system before a product can be sold. Inner Origin is the only company in the world that has a panel of 12 experts to verify claims on the product – they call it Truth on Label. Ambassadors of Inner Origin include Peter Evans, Therese Kerr and David Wolfe.
Another grey area are products like Bamboo. I have seen Bamboo called organic and natural. Bamboo baby productshave seen a huge rise in popularity for the belief that they are natural.
Some companies do check that their bamboo source is certified as free from harmful pesticides but most bamboo starts as a beautiful plant but is processed with all sorts of chemicals to end up with that soft fabric that you think is natural.
It is why we don’t stock bamboo baby products. Any exceptions we make have their production sources checked and we never call them organic. It is simply not true.
So lets get to what Organic actually means and how you can tell a real organic baby product vs a fake organic product.
Here are 4 terms you need to get to know and understand as an ethical consumer.
What is NATURAL?
does not mean much. Renee Loux wrote a great article on this for Women’s Health Magazine.
There is no standard or derivative and is very difficult to police. She says “Some companies and brands create their own internal standards for “natural” claims, which may or may not have real credibility”
What is BIODYNAMIC?
Biodynamic farming treats the farm as one whole organism with the soil as the foundation. It is a very wholistic approach to farming that includes the humans that farm the land. Biodynamic farming uses a closed-loop system which means everything that goes into growing crops comes from the farm itself. This results in a very rich soil system which means nutritionally, this is the most superior and nutritionally rich food to consume.
What is ORGANIC ?
Organic farming is similar to biodynamic farming in that no conventional chemical fertilisers are introduced, but they will normally ‘feed’ the plants and soils with organic manures and approved organic fertilisers that are set by the ACO Standards. Organic agents are still used to protect plants from pests and disease, but these are approved organic sources from the ACO, who routinely audit farms to ensure they are complying with their strict standards.
Australian Certified Organic (ACO) is Australia’s largest certifier for organic and biodynamic produce and has over 1500 operators within its certification system. ACO is a not for profit fully-owned subsidiary of Australia Organic Ltd.
ACO provides certification services to operators from all sectors of the organic industry. Certification ensures compliance with national production standards and allows trace back of all products to their origin. This is why our Nature’s Child Organic Baby Products are certified with the ACO for your peace of mind.
What is GMO FREE ?
Non-GMO means non-genetically modified organisms. GMOs (genetically modified organisms), are novel organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. Scientists and consumer and environmental groups have cited many health and environmental risks with foods containing GMOs. You can read more about GMO free and why it is important for our ecosystem. The Nature’s Child Bio Liners use GMO free material. This means they are just a few dollars dearer than similar brands in on line baby stores. If you can afford the few extra dollars, you can see why we think this is worth it.
I hope this very brief summary of natural and organic helps you navigate the world of baby products when you are shopping for your baby. We are just so proud at the high standards we set for you and for the baby world.
We have always had a very simple but important mission here at Nature’s Child.
To set the standard for the purest baby products possible.
To ensure parents knew the difference between safe, natural and organic by having an independent certification so anyone could verify our organic claims instead of hoping the label was truthful.
Ultimately and most importantly, our purpose is to ensure that our children can enjoy the health and nutritional benefits of the very Organic Baby Products available and especially the very best Organic Baby Skincare