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Work Initiated on American National Standard for Organic Personal Care Products

New York, Aug 27, 2004

ANSI member and accredited standards developer NSF International has announced the initiation of work to develop a new organic personal care product standard. NSF will collaborate with the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to develop an American National Standard (ANS) that will define the requirements necessary for a personal care product to make an organic label claim, and provide the personal care industry with one consensus standard for all organic products to be certified against, maintaining consistency in label claims.

Motivation for development of the standard was spurred earlier this year when the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) issued a guidance statement that excluded personal care products and other nonfood products from the scope of national organic standards. While this document was subsequently recalled, industry groups like OTA hope a nationally recognized standard will support and safeguard the manufacturing and production of organic personal care products.

NSF certifies products and writes standards for food, water, air and consumer goods. Its voluntary consensus standards development process is accredited by ANSI, a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment systems. ANSI's accreditation verifies that NSF develops standards in a manner to ensure openness and due process allowing for equity and fair play. The process also ensures balanced input from industry representatives, public health/regulatory officials, and users/consumer representatives.

OTA, the business association representing the organic agriculture industry in North America, will participate on NSF's Joint Committee for developing organic personal care standards. The organization’s Personal Care Organic Standards Task Force has been working on developing organic standards for personal care products since March 2001.

"OTA has made a strategic decision to collaborate with NSF International because NSF's consensus standards development process is accredited by the highly reputable American National Standards Institute," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director. She added, "Standards accredited by ANSI are historically recognized and referenced by federal agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."

In 2003, ANSI was contracted to conduct an evaluation of the USDA’s NOP accreditation program to verify that its procedures and practices are accordance with ISO/IEC Guide 61, General Requirements for Assessment and Accreditation of Certification/Registration Bodies. [See related story: ANSI to Assess USDA’s National Organic Program Accreditation Process]

The meeting to discuss initial requirements for this standard is scheduled for September 23, 2004 at NSF International World Head Quarters in Ann Arbor, MI. Participation is open to all interested parties through committee membership, observer status at meetings, or public comment opportunities. To request an invitation or if you are interested in serving on the NSF joint committee, please contact NSF Standards Manager Jane Wilson at (800) NSF-MARK, ext. 6835, e-mail: for additional information.

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