Product Labels: What They Say & What They Mean | BlackDoctor

    Product Labels: What They Say & What They Mean

    (BlackDoctor.org) — As consumers we are becoming wiser and more selective. We are reading the labels on our cosmetics and beauty supplies and deciding what we do and don’t want in them. But, the smarter we become, the savvier companies become.

    Knowing that people tend  to take words in their most common and reasonable context, beauty and cosmetic companies are masters of playing with language to create images that in many cases are false. As a consumer, you need to learn the difference between what a company is telling you and what they want you to believe they are saying.

    Natural products

    More people are placing faith in benefits from the gifts of nature and are recognizing the dangers of chemical formulations. As this happens the number of so-called natural products is readily multiplying and both old and new companies are steadily cashing in.

    But, have you ever wondered what criteria a product must meet to be deemed natural?

    You may be shocked to know the answer is none. Natural is essentially whatever any company decides it is. The FDA has no definition for the word nor does it police the market to determine whether such claims are substantiated. Technically, a product that’s 95 percent petroleum and 5 percent oatmeal and honey may be deemed natural if that is the way a company wants to play consumers.

    Organic products

    You may get the notion that you will do better if you purchase organic products. You might, but it’s surely not a given. The FDA does not have a definition for organic either. The USDA, however, has a National Organic Program (NOP) that sets definitions and outlines standards, but it’s not a one size fits all affair.

    According to NOP, products can be labeled “100% organic” if all of the ingredients, except water and salts, are produced organically. Once certified, these products can carry the USDA Organic Seal.

    If a product is “organic,” the USDA requires that 95 percent of the ingredients be organically produced and the remaining 5 percent be substances from the National List, except the water and salts. These products may also carry the USDA Organic Seal.

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