I have written numerous articles about this subject, and invariably they have centered on the fact that a number of different certification bodies have been struggling to define exactly what is the definition of a natural or organic ingredient, and how that translates into finished products.
We shall not open that can of worms here. Instead, let us focus on why it is so important to have a natural or organic ingredient certified by a reputable body, not only for the end user, but also for the reputation of the industry and its suppliers.
Many of the articles I have written have touched on the growing problem of synthetic and adulterated ingredients being marketed as natural, botanical-based products.
Cheaper alternatives can spell major perils
Cheaper alternatives to certified natural and organic are usually less costly for a reason, and it seems that certain suppliers’ claims about the ingredient composition and associated efficacy may be a far cry from the reality.
This was underlined in a recent story I wrote that focused on the threat posed by synthetic and adulterated tea tree oil.
This essential oil is used in a host of cosmetic and personal care products, being most commonly specified in formulations for anti-dandruff properties in hair care products, and as an anti-acne treatment.
But in recent years synthetic and adulterated tea tree oil, often imported from Asia, has started to flood the market, so much so that finding the genuine ingredient is becoming increasingly challenging.
In this article, Jacqui Rathner, chief operating officer at Naturally Australian Products, a company that produces and supplies ecoVirgin certified tea tree oil from Australia, claimed that there is currently more adulterated oil on the market than the real thing.
Serious implications for the industry and the consumer
The implications for this are far-reaching, not only to the consumer, but also to the reputation of companies that are sourcing and distributing certified tea tree oil that marketed on the back of guaranteed purity and the fact that it is farmed without dangerous pesticides or harmful fertilizers.
In a nutshell, unadulterated or synthetic oil cannot be guaranteed for safety or efficacy. In the best case scenario, it could leave consumers finding that the cosmetic or personal care product they are using does not live up to the manufacturer’s claims.
In the worst case scenario, it could leave the end user with any number of allergic reactions to unknown compounds in unadulterated or synthetic compounds. And we all know how serious the implications of certain allergic conditions can be.
Although the certification process can be frustrating and daunting, it is crucial to never forget the fact that is it is there to protect the reputation of ingredients suppliers, and, most importantly the safety of the end user.