Dr. Bronner Files Lawsuit Over Organic Claims

Dr. Bronner Files Lawsuit Over Organic Claims

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps filed a lawsuit this week against several competing personal care brands alleging the companies are misleading consumers with false organic labeling.

The family-owned business wants the companies, which include Estee Lauder, Jason, Stella McCartnery’s CARE and Kiss My Face, among others, to stop making organic ingredient claims. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps also singled out Ecocert, a French organic certifier it says skirts its own rules to accomodate clients.

"We have been deeply disapponted and frustrated by companies in the 'natural' personal care space who have been screwing over organic consumers, engaging in misleasing organic branding and label call-outs, on products that were not natural in the first place, let alone organic," David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, said in a statement.

The U.S. has no regulations governing natural or organic personal care products. Bronner’s lawsuit contends that the products in question contain synthetic materials or those derived from conventional agriculture. For instance, the suit claims companies such as Juice, Desert Essence and Ikove use cocamdiopropyl betain as a main cleansing ingredient when the ingredient contains non-organic agricultural and petrochemical materials.

A San Francisco Chronicle story raised the question of whether organic personal skin care products must use a minimum amount of organic ingredients to be able to use the moniker, or if they can contain synthetic or petrochemical materials.

Juice Beauty meets the standards of the California Organic Products Act, which is the sole regulation that exists for organic skin care, Karen Behnke of Juice Beauty told The Chronicle.

"The last we know, Bronner was not appointed by any government agency to set a standard," Behnke said. "I'm not sure why we would have to follow a standard set by him."