USDA won’t certify personal-care products as organic

Makers of “natural” cosmetics, lotions, and potions, and the consumers who love them, are vexed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent decision not to certify personal-care products as organic. The little green USDA organic seal, which now adorns many food products in the U.S., will not be applied to soaps, shampoos, and the like, meaning consumers will have no standardized way of determining whether such products have been manufactured with real organic ingredients, or without synthetic chemicals. Many small businesses that make personal-care products had been led to believe a certification program was imminent and spent many thousands of dollars ensuring standards would be met, since the organic label was expected to give smaller companies a rare edge in the competitive industry. The USDA decided it wouldn’t certify cosmetics last year, but was forced to backpedal due to public complaints. This time, the agency says it’ll stick to its guns unless compelled to change by Congress.