Branch Basics found to contain synthetic ingredients

This company was next on my list to look deeper into. The topic has come up numerous times in my pages over the years: do the ingredients really add up was the question? Well, I can now scratch them off my list as they came out with this release on their website  today:

“Thank you for visiting Branch Basics. We’re truly sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused you while our products have been out of stock and for our longer than usual response time to customer inquiries.

Whether a longtime customer or here for the first time, we want you to know we started this company because we care about your well-being.

We founded Branch Basics after our three individual health journeys fueled our passion to educate and inspire people to create healthy homes and bodies. Offering a safe, effective, simple soap to replace a multitude of toxic cleaning products has been a vehicle for our mission. As part of that promise, we differentiated our product from other natural cleaning products by being not only non-toxic, but entirely free of synthetic ingredients which are found in most green cleaners.

Recently we were devastated to learn that our trusted third-party formulator, whose product co-founder Marilee has used for 22 years, misrepresented the ingredients in her proprietary formula. We now know that it contains synthetic ingredients and is not a true soap as it was represented to us. We put an immediate hold on sales in light of the new information and brought in one of the nation’s leading experts who reaffirmed through a full assessment that the product is still safe, non-toxic, biodegradable, and non-irritating to the eyes and skin when used as directed.

After much consideration, however, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the sale of our Branch Basics Concentrate. While we love this formula, going forward we are committed to working with suppliers that value full transparency and are dedicated to creating a product that is as natural and effective as possible. We will continue to sell our Oxygen Boost and Scent Oils in the meantime.

We want to make it clear that our daily use of and reliance on this unique formula has not changed as it is one of the best non-toxic cleaning products that exists. In fact, thousands of Branch Basics customers that have allergies, asthma, skin issues, or are chemically sensitive have found it to be the only product they can tolerate. Our decision to reformulate with new partners stems from our commitment to build a brand that people can continue to trust and love.

We humbly apologize and ask for your patience as we work to uphold our brand commitment to purity.

This company is extremely personal to us. What started as small gatherings in people’s living rooms, sharing tips on toxin-free living, has grown into something bigger than we could have imagined. We are grateful for each of our amazing customers, and we will not let this stop our mission to educate, inspire, and help people live healthy lives. We hope you will stay tuned for what’s next.

Please reach out with any questions or comments to info@branchbasics.com, and we will do our best to personally get back to you in a timely manner.

Sincerely,
Marilee, Allison, and Kelly”

https://branchbasics.com/

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. M
    Feb 04, 2016 @ 00:52:35

    Sounds like this has been brewing for a few months, but the timing relative to the AANT controversy doesn’t seem like just a coincidence. Is it possible that the two companies are using the same third-party formulator? The ingredient list for the BB all-purpose cleaner is more or less identical to that of AANT. Are other companies also using this formulator and being deceived?

    I agree that their PR is much better than AANT, but I don’t think we should go too easy on them. The responsibility is still on the end distributor to ensure that the ingredient list on their products is accurate, especially if you are going to make a claim about synthetic ingredients. It seems like the company owners truly didn’t know the product was not as-advertised (whereas there is more evidence to suggest that AANT did know and decided to continue with the product as is until they could move the product in house), but I still find it baffling that neither of these companies appeared to do any rigorous quality control and spot checking of their products with an independent tester before selling it to the public. How can they be blindly trusting their formulator!? It just doesn’t make sense how they could be working with a formulator for so long and not once ever question the ingredients. There is clearly a lot of inexperience between these two companies in terms of how the products they are selling are formulated, and that’s a shame, because even the simplest of google searches would have clued them in that their ingredients lists were not possible.

    In addition, whereas AANT has always been fairly transparent in terms of the fact that they do not produce most of their own products, BB seems to advertise itself as making all their products themselves. However, they are not a company that I was really familiar with until recently, so maybe that’s not a fair assessment. It’s becoming more and more difficult to know who is being truthful and which products are safe.

    • Melissa
      Feb 04, 2016 @ 18:51:09

      AANT wasn’t blindly trusting their formulators. They had signed contracts saying they wouldn’t include any harmful ingredients in the products they were producing for AANT. Those contracts were broken by the formulators & manufacturers. I honestly believe that AANT is an honest company that has integrity and has done right by their customers & consultants by being truthful about what has happened & it’s unfortunate that Ava & her family are no longer part of it.

      • ecofriendlymamausa
        Feb 05, 2016 @ 14:13:11

        They also said they tested the products & Kim Anderson herself said she knew every ingredient in every product. Had they conducted 1 test of any of the affected products they’d known about the synthetics, completely inaccurate dish soap, etc.

      • Caron
        Feb 05, 2016 @ 14:48:49

        Melissa, two points:

        1) If they’d been truthful, they’d have told customers about the 18 items that were mislabeled that they’ve been selling for years. They have not admitted that to the customers and when people bring that up in team Facebook groups, the comments get deleted. The AANT executives are censoring what the consultants are allowed to talk about. People are still using these products and aren’t aware of the ingredients in them.

        2) The dish and hand soap were being made in house and shipping with the new formula on Jan 22nd. That’s when consultants were notified. That means that for the month or two before, while the formulators were working on developing the formula for in-house production they discovered and knew that the dish soap and hand soap had been mislabeled. THEY NEVER STOPPED SHIPPING IT until the new formula was available. They ONLY notified consultants on 1/26 when they put out the test results that came back after Kim announced the company was closing. They knew. There is no way they didn’t know. And they kept shipping it. That is not transparency. Who is this “they” that I speak of? I’ve got no idea. Maybe Kim and Ava knew. Maybe not. But someone knew. Maybe the people that are now taking over the company? That’s what scares me the most.

      • M
        Feb 05, 2016 @ 15:59:09

        Regardless of the contract (which gives them leverage should they decide to sue the formulator, which both AANT and Branch Basics should), once customers raised the issue about the quality and accuracy of the ingredients (which DID happen), both companies owed it to their customers to not only verify with the formulator but also do some quality control and spot checks of their own. To not do so is just willful blindness on the part of AANT (and Branch Basics). You are entitled to your opinion, as am I: I don’t believe that AANT is an honest company, if they had integrity, they would have done what Branch Basics has done instead of run away. The fact that Ava and her family are no longer part of the company is entirely their fault; no one pushed them out, they chose to leave. If they wanted to still be part of the company, then they would be.

      • Eric
        Feb 07, 2016 @ 18:19:05

        The onus of quality control and ongoing quality assurance testing lies upon both AANT and Branch Basics. It’s really incomprehensible that a company finds out that their formulations are bogus from concerned consumers and/or consumer advocates. I find it amazing that companies like these make apologies wrapped in well crafted PR statements and certain consumers are so willing accept those statements without question.

        When it comes selling products where the main marketing message is “nontoxic”, then there is NO ROOM for error. The buck stops at the producers of the products. Companies who understand formulation processes and quality control testing know what it takes to put processes in place to make sure that formulators, manufacturers and suppliers CONTINUE to provide a quality product (once a product has been double or triple verified to begin with). To blindly trust a formulator, manufacturer or supplier is unacceptable.

        Quality Assurance: The planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled.

        If producers of products can not afford to do ongoing, systematic quality assurance testing on their products then they should not be selling those products.

        This is especially true in the case of Ava Anderson, a company that boasts, “We have grown from a dream at a kitchen table to a 50 million dollar run rate company, with a nearly 200% annual growth rate” (http://www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/important/).

        Should we natural/organic consumers give such companies the benefit of the doubt? Did these companies just not know about the most important aspect of selling nontoxic products?

        If they were indeed just ignorant, and not lying, then the PR apology statements should start with the following paragraph:

        “We are sorry. We had no idea that we should have first triple verified our formulation(s) and then put ongoing QA processes in place to assure that we continued to deliver to you the product(s) that were promised. We ignored these critical and necessary steps. Allow us to explain how we made these mistakes, and to outline the steps we are going to take to fix them, permanently.”

  2. Margalita
    Feb 04, 2016 @ 01:06:49

    Wow. A play right out of the Ava play book.

  3. Christine
    Feb 07, 2016 @ 00:30:29

    Ugh! I wish I trusted my gut with this company instead of going ahead and using their “soap” product for the past year. I never liked the fact that they refused to disclose the exact ingredients. When did this news come out by the way?? I just found out today when they sent an email. I wonder how long they actually knew before telling us.

    I remember seeing a complaint from a customer in 2015 (you can find it under the BBB complaints against the company) that she had a major skin reaction to it and right there the company said they referred this woman to their formulator because the formulator keeps them from disclosing the ingredients. So, are they saying they were lied to about the exact ingredients?? I find that hard to believe. Anyway, I won’t be buying their new formulation, that’s for sure. They’re totally untrustworthy now in my book. I asked for a refund for 3 unopened bottles and I sincerely hope they do the right thing and reimburse me!

  4. Eric
    Feb 08, 2016 @ 06:17:44

    Turns out that Branch Basics, like Ava Anderson “Non Toxic” deserve nothing but law suites. The disclosure notice/letter excerpt below is from Sue Apito’s blog, https://gogreenct.wordpress.com.

    Branch Basics – Disclosure Notice
    https://gogreenct.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/branch-basics-disclosure-notice/

    [Excerpt]: ‘Among many other deceitful acts of the owners, officers of Branch Basics, LLC made written promises to me (which I have) that they had stopped all marketing of the synthetic chemical called “Branch Basics.” On December 21, 2015, in a meeting at their office that lasted over 3.5 hours, Marilee Nelson looked me in my eyes and swore that she and the other three officers had taken the product off the market as I had demanded back in October 2014, May 2015, August 2015, September 2015, October 2015 and November 2015. The other three officers (Allison, Kelly and Chip) confirmed what Marilee claimed. That night, my assistant called me and said that Kelly Love was all over facebook and twitter promoting Christmas specials for the synthetic chemical and further deceiving the public and the many moms that buy the chemical thinking that it is natural or organic. I was then, and am now in utter disbelief at the extent to which the owners and officers of Branch Basics, LLC will go to make a quick buck playing the “green lottery” with the health and safety of unsuspecting pregnant women, moms and their babies. Their written promises to me to take the synthetic chemical off the market was just another in a long list of lies.’

    Sue says, “The letter above was sent to me by a blogger who had been promoting this product to their readers. They sent it to me because they know I have been exposing greenwasher and reporting them to the FDA, USDA and FTC for many years.”

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