Organic Certification in Personal Care Products

We’ve had the discussion on the Facebook page before, does certified organic matter to you, or is the use of organic ingredients enough? For me, the certification does matter, and this awesome interview with the owner of Poofy Organics helps shed light on the process. Many have commented that the certification is nothing more than a hefty payment to the USDA… It is SO much more than that, and I’ll gladly pay a bit extra for companies that are willing to jump through the hoops. Poofy Organics is not a large company by any means, they have 4 employees, Kristina the owner, and her mother being 2 (both pictured). I’m currently working on a review for several Poofy products, and I can tell you now that I LOVE every, single thing I’ve tried, and the ingredient labels are TRULY fabulous!
What does the certification process entail?
What is the process for getting certified? Please be detailed as possible (paperwork, inspections, etc.)? First,  a company needs to fill out what seems like an eternity of  surveys/questionnaires.  The questions are extremely detailed down to  the most minute piece of information.  We were asked about our water  supply, how we clean & sanitize work stations, how we clean &  sanitize our equipment.  Meticulous records need to be maintained from  start to finish of ANY product being manufactured.  If a facility has  pests, only certain pesticides may be used.  Luckily, we have not had  that issue.  Back to keeping records, for instance, a record of each  ingredient we use is kept.  When we order an ingredient, it goes in our  record.  We need to list who the supplier is (and of course they must  already be certified as acceptable to use by the USDA certifying  company.  In our case, it is Baystate Certifying Company).  We need to  track what date the product was ordered and when it was received, who  received it, the lot # and where the ingredient was stored.  Another  record we keep is our manufacturing record.  On it, we list what product  we are making, the date it is being made, who is making it, ALL the  ingredients AND units of measurements for those ingredients, all lot  numbers associated with the ingredients and how many products were  yielded.  Then our products are assigned lot numbers.  It is quite a  process for every time a product is made, especially because Poofy  Organics has over 100 organic products.  it can become quite hectic!   Another record that is kept is the cleaning/sanitizing record.  Every  time a product is manufactured, we must document how we cleaned &  prepared the equipment and how it was purged. Lastly, we have a  cleaning/sanitizing record for our facility.  This includes when and how  we clean our floors, etc.

Anytime  a new product is created, we have to send an OPP- Organic Product  Profile to our certifying company.  On it, we need to list all the  ingredients, the supplier and the concentration of those ingredients.   Any non-organic ingredient that is allowed in the organic product (and  those are very few and minute percentages), needs to go through another  process which maintains that the ingredient has not been manufactured  using sewage sludge or ionizing radiation and has not been created using  GMOs (genetically modified organisms). An example of such an ingredient  would be baking soda.  Because baking soda cannot be found organically,  a company like Bob’s Red Mill is a staple for organic companies.  It  upholds the highest standards in the industry.

A  new product considered for certification also needs to go through a  rigorous “label” certification.  Even the labels have standards and  rules.  Each label is sent to the certificating agency to make sure it  is in compliance.

We  are inspected annually.  Each year a new application for certification  needs to be completed- some of the information is stored so it makes  things a bit easier.  During inspections, records are sifted through to  make sure all ingredients, products, manufacturing, labels and  cleaning/sanitizing is in compliance.  Batches are randomly picked to  make sure the ingredients and numbers add up to the number of units  sold.  It is quite a heavy-duty process.   It is often misunderstood  that once a company is certified, the job is over.  It is a CONSTANT  process- always keeping records, always turning in new documents.”

Here’s a link to the full interview, definitely worth a read:
Link to FB discussion on the topic, with some of my thoughts: