I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve just seen another perfect example of why it is so important to read all of the labels on the products we buy. This image was sent to us by a concerned consumer, who found the product in a local store. The soap in this bottle of “Dr. Organics Pure Castile Soap” is not organic.
Without even looking at the ingredient list, I can tell you this for certain.
There is a very misleading tagline beneath the product name which says, “A natural all-purpose liquid soap with organics and essential oils”. It doesn’t say the soap is organic. It doesn’t say the essential oils are organic. And just what are “organics”? Read on.
Looking at the ingredient list verifies all this: water, saponified coconut, hemp & olive oils with retained glycerin, vitamin E oil (tocopheryl acetate), peppermint oil, sea salt, citric acid, rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) extract. In light of this list which contains no organic ingredients, I’d imagine that the word “organics” in the tagline is supposed to mean that some of the ingredients are carbon compounds, which is another definition of the word “organic”, as opposed to “inorganic”, or non-carbon compounds. Is that the first thing that came to your mind when you read “organics” on a soap label? Of course not. You think no pesticides, good farming practices, and all that.
Yes. Be outraged! Someone should do something about this!
Well, yes, someone should do something. And that someone is you. And me. And every other consumer. Don’t buy it.
Although Dr. Organics would probably say that they never claimed their Pure Castile Soap is organic, they are clearly marketing towards the distracted shopper – the shopper who hasn’t learned the subtle nuances of the game, the shopper who doesn’t have the time to read the label and who doesn’t know what to look for if they did. No one buys this soap because they think it’s conventional. They buy this soap because they think it’s somehow better than conventional. But it’s not.
There are several ways to tackle this sort of thing, both grassroots and more sophisticated. My brother David Bronner spends a lot of money, time and effort fighting the legal battle over labeling laws. You can read more about his efforts at the “Truth and Lies in Organic Personal Care” section of our website.
But businesses wouldn’t use these misleading labels if it weren’t profitable. If the bulk of consumers would wise up and see that they’re being played for a fool, these companies would lose their incentive. At the moment, they’re being rewarded for their deception by sales. And so in addition to the ongoing fight in courts over misleading labels, let’s fight at the store level as well.
There is somewhat of an irony here because other than not being organic, there is nothing wrong with the ingredients in this product. There are no detergents or artificial fragrances or possibly carcinogenic compounds. On that score, it’s pretty good. But it still is going after the organic market while not being organic.
Now, I’m not taking aim at this product because I’m afraid it’s going to cut into Dr. Bronner’s sales. That’s really not a concern here. We could be talking about any company who, by putting the word “organic” in its company name, implies that they sell an exclusively organic product line.
So, read, and read some more. Don’t assume. Keep learning. Ask questions.