Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Files Lawsuit against Major ‘Organic’ Cheater Brands

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Files Lawsuit against Major ‘Organic’ Cheater Brands

Around here we have been using Dr. Bronner’s soaps (And their other products) since the 60s.
…Remember…Young people, primarily members of the counter-culture, come to love the soap with which they could do everything: from washing their VW vans, to cleaning their bell-bottoms, to washing themselves by the nearby lake. They also groove on the label’s call to peace and the fact that Dr. Bronner’s is a real person, not some corporate mascot. Word-of-mouth soon makes Dr. Bronner’s the iconic soap of that era.


Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Files Lawsuit against Major ‘Organic’ Cheater Brands

I commend David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps for working to maintain integrity in the natural products industry.

For anyone with an interest in the history and development of the natural products industry I recommend the ‘Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps’ episode of the program The Genesis of Healing produced by Natural Wellness Corporation Ltd. (Brush Fire Films) and aired on the Veria network. The Veria network is channel 9575 on Dish Network satellite TV.

In our view, the Dr. Bronner’s company, people, and policies are icons for “Right Lively-hood” and the company’s operating character is the best model for how to run a family, a company, and how to run a government.

Dr. Bronner’s is a true “Fair Trade” organization.

If you would like to know more about Dr. Bronner’s charitable efforts and how they help promote a healthy planet and happy, healthy people all over the world, visit the following sites:

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: History: Timeline

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: Activism: Overview

Co-op America: Green Business Interview: Dr. Bronner’s

You’ve bought their soap at your local co-op for years. You’ve read the words of wisdom on the outside of their bottles and wondered about the eccentricities behind the label. Here’s your chance to find out.

Read our latest green business interview with David Bronner, a fifth-generation Bronner in a family that has been making all-natural soaps for 150 years. We asked him to tell us about the history of the company, their tangles with the DEA, and their latest ventures into Fair Trade.

The Dr. Bronner’s film:
Famous for his tingle-all-over, peppermint-infused castile soap,
Dr. Emanuel Bronner was at the forefront of the health food movement in the ’60s. Popularized by the so-called counter culture, Bronner verbosely labeled blue-and-white soap bottles, emblazoned with the man’s MORAL ABCs, are ebullient about matters of labor and faith and obsessive about “Uniting God’s Spaceship Earth.” With random mentions of Einstein, Hillel, Jesus, and Olympic gold-medal winner Mark Spitz, it’s easier to ridicule the soap maker and his ABCs than it is to figure out the agenda behind this product that seems more a model of activism than a consumer good. And therein is the nucleus of director Sara Lamm’s address: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox does tell the story of a soap company, the founder and his heirs, but moreover, it explores the foundation of the soap company’s label and addresses the possibility of what the Bronner’s call “conscientious capitalism.” Ultimately, the documentary leaves you feeling hopeful and tingly all over.

Slant Magazine – Film Review: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox


For more info on FAIR TRADE check out these sites:

Not much is fair about free trade
Not much is fair about free trade

What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade is the idea that when we engage in free trade we think about the people behind the products we’re buying. In the same way that organic food has gotten us to think about what is in our food, fair trade asks us to think about who makes our products.
What is Fair Trade?

Co-op America Foundation, Inc.
12 Ways to Shop Fair Trade

Good news! The Fair Trade marketplace is broader and more vibrant then ever before…And much more.
Co-op America Foundation, Inc.
12 Ways to Shop Fair Trade

Don’t forget that you eat and breathe through your skin. It is wise not to apply anything to your skin that you could not healthfully eat.

The Organic Consumers Association’s reveals that so-called “organic” or “natural” product brands were actually made with toxic chemicals including as 1,4-dioxane, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps has sued numerous companies in the industry accusing them of using misleading labeling intended to deceive consumers. Hopefully this action will encourage the cheaters to either reformulate their products to eliminate the poison, or at least to change their labeling and stop lying.

The alleged liars include Estee Lauder, Ecocert, OASIS, Stella McCartney’s CARE, Jason, Avalon Organics, Nature’s Gate, Kiss My Face, Ikove and others.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps can be trusted and should be supported,
We suggest that we put our support in the right places and help maintain the meaning behind the word “Organic” on product labels. Don’t let “Organic” go the way of “Natural”, “Low Fat” or the other words and phrases that are manipulated to fool us into “Poisoning Ourselves with Good Intentions.

We respectfully encourage consumers to boycott all the “organic cheater” brands and choose only genuine, trusted brands that are evaluated and supported by the Organic Consumers Association
Organic Consumers Association
In all consumer activities, please let us support companies operating under “Fair Trade”, no “Free Trade” guidelines.


Below is the original press release from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps:
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Files Lawsuit against Major ‘Organic’ Cheater Brands
Offending Companies Claim “Organic” or “Organics” on Labels But Main Cleansing Ingredients Are Based on Conventional Agricultural and/or Petrochemical Material

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The family owned Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court today against numerous personal care brands to force them to stop making misleading organic labeling claims. Dr. Bronner’s and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) had warned offending brands that they faced litigation unless they committed to either drop their organic claims or reformulate away from main ingredients made from conventional agricultural and/or petrochemical material without any certified organic material. OCA has played the leading role in exposing and educating consumers about deceptive organic branding.

David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps says, “We have been deeply disappointed and frustrated by companies in the ‘natural’ personal care space who have been screwing over organic consumers, engaging in misleading organic branding and label call-outs, on products that were not natural in the first place, let alone organic.” Dr. Bronner’s has determined, based on extensive surveys, that organic consumers expect that cleansing ingredients in branded and labeled soaps, shampoos and body washes that are labeled Organic”, “Organics” or “Made with Organic” will be from organic as distinct from conventional agricultural material, produced without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides, and free of petrochemical compounds.

For example: The major cleansing ingredient in Jason “Pure, Natural & Organic” liquid soaps, body washes and shampoos is Sodium Myreth Sulfate, which involves ethoxylating a conventional non-organic fatty chain with the carcinogenic petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which produces caricinogenic 1,4-Dioxane as a contaminant. The major cleansing ingredient in Avalon “Organics” soaps, bodywashes and shampoos, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, contains conventional non-organic agricultural material combined with the petrochemical Amdiopropyl Betaine. Nature’s Gate “Organics” main cleansers are Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (ethoxylated) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine. Kiss My Face “Obsessively Organic” cleansers are Olefin Sulfonate (a pure petrochemical) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine. Juice “Organics”, Giovanni “Organic Cosmetics”, Head “Organics”, Desert Essence “Organics”, and Ikove “Organic” all use Cocamdiopropyl Betaine as a main cleansing ingredient and no cleansers made from certified organic material. Due to the petrochemical compounds used to make the ingredient, Cocamidopropyl Betaine is contaminated with traces of Sodium monochloroacetate, Amidoamine (AA), and dimethylaminopropylamine(DMAPA). Amidoamine in particular is suspected of causing skin sensitization and allergic reactions even at very low levels for certain individuals. Organic consumers have a right to expect that the personal care products they purchase with organic branding or label claims, contain cleansing ingredients made from organic agricultural material, not conventional or petrochemical material, and thus have absolutely no petrochemical contaminants that could pose any concern.

Dr. Bronner’s products, in contrast to the brands noted above, contain cleansing and moisturizing ingredients made only from certified organic oils, made without any use of petrochemicals, and contain no petrochemical preservatives. The misleading organic noise created by culprit companies’ branding and labeling practices, interferes with organic consumers ability to distinguish personal care whose main ingredients are in fact made with certified organic, not conventional or petrochemical, material, free of synthetic preservatives.

Lawsuit Also Names Estee Lauder, Stella McCartney’s CARE, Ecocert and OASIS

Ecocert is a French-based certifier with a standard that allows not only cleansing ingredients made from conventional versus organic agriculture, but also allows inclusion, in the cleansing ingredients contained in products labeled as “Made with Organic” ingredients, of certain petrochemicals such as Amidopropyl Betaine in Cocamidopropyl Betaine. Even worse, despite Ecocert’s own regulations prohibiting the labeling as “Organic” of a product containing less than 100% organic content, Ecocert in practice engages in “creative misinterpretation” of its own rules in order to accommodate clients engaging in organic mislabeling. For instance, Ecocert certifies the Ikove brand’s cleansing products to contain less than 50% organic content, noted in small text on the back of the product, where all cleansing ingredients are non-organic including Cocamidopropyl Betaine which contains petroleum compounds. Yet the product is labeled “Organic” Amazonian Avocado Bath & Shower Gel. Another instance is Stella McCartney’s “100% Organic” CARE line certified by Ecocert that labels products as “100% Organic” that are not 100% Organic alongside ones that are; the labels of products that are not 100% organic simply insert the word “Active” before “Ingredients.” In allowing such labeling, Ecocert simply ignores the requirements of its own certification standards. Furthermore, the primary organic content in most Ecocert certified products comes from “Flower Waters” in which up to 80% of the “organic” content consists merely of just regular tap water that Ecocert counts as “organic.”

Explicitly relying on the weak Ecocert standard as precedent, the new Organic and Sustainable Industry Standard (“OASIS”)-a standard indeed developed exclusively by certain members of the industry, primarily Estee Lauder, with no consumer input — will permit certification of products outright as “Organic” (rather than as “Made with Organic” ingredients) even if such products contain hydrogenated and sulfated cleansing ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate made from conventional agricultural material grown with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and preserved with synthetic petrochemical preservatives such as Ethylhexylglycerin and Phenoxyethanol. [Reference: OASIS Standard section 6.2 and Anti-Microbial List] The organic content is required to only be 85%, which in water and detergent-based personal care products, means organic water extracts and aloe vera will greenwash conventional synthetic cleansing ingredients and preservatives.

The OASIS standard is not merely useless but deliberately misleading to organic consumers looking for a reliable indicator of true “organic” product integrity in personal care. Organic consumers expect that cleansing ingredients in products labeled “Organic” be made from organic not conventional agriculture, to not be hydrogenated or sulfated, and to be free from synthetic petrochemical preservatives. Surprisingly, companies represented on the OASIS board, such as Hain (Jason “Pure, Natural & Organic”; Avalon “Organics”) and Cosway (Head “Organics”,) produce liquid soap, bodywash and shampoo products with petrochemicals in their cleansers even though use of petrochemicals in this way is not permitted even under the very permissible OASIS standard these companies have themselves developed and endorsed.

Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of the OCA, said: “The pressure of imminent litigation outlined in cease and desist letters sent by OCA and Dr. Bronner’s in March prompted some serious discussion with some of the offending companies, but ultimately failed to resolve the core issues.”


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