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Avalon's Organic (R)Evolution

By Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor | November 7, 2011

A natural product leader takes the concept to the next level.

Avalon Organics is raising the bar when it comes to organic ingredients. The company presented its newest iteration of organic certification at a press conference in New York earlier this month to mark Avalon’s transition of its line of personal care products to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients.

According to Emma Froelich-Shea, senior vice president, marketing and R&D, Hain Celestial Personal Care, who presented on the NSF Standard vis-à-vis Avalon, and Joe Dickson, Food, Organic & Environmental Quality Standards Coordinator, Whole Foods, one of the authors of the NSF Standard, this certification supports a commitment to consumers to offer materials and processes that meet a variety of established criteria specific to personal care products that contain organic ingredients.

Froelich-Shea explained that Avalon supports a philosophy of quality and standards that emphasize the company’s commitment to being “all about consciousness in cosmetics.”
A few of the AvalonOrganics product collections.
She said, “We support sustainable farming and never test on animals. All of our products, from face lotions to body care products contain a minimum organic content of 70%, and we are now utilizing the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for personal care products.”

Froelich-Shea discussed the growing and manufacturing standards that are central to the new certification, “From the lavender just picked, to the water that goes down the drain, we have chosen this standard for personal care products specifically. We believe that this standard will help us honor our bodies with every product we make.”
The Transition to NSF/ANSI 305

Unlike organic foods and beverages, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not created specific organic standards for formulating and labeling personal care products that contain organic ingredients. NSF/ANSI 305, the American National Standard specific to personal care products that contain organic ingredients, has established the materials, processes, production criteria and conditions that must be met in order for a brand to call itself organic. Under this standard, all personal care products with “contains organic ingredients” claims (other than in ingredient lists) must contain a minimum organic content of 70%. Additionally, formulas must contain only ingredients that have gone through rigorous evaluation by a scientific panel and have been approved by NSF.
Emma Froelich-Shea and Joe Dickson
The NSF, originally founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation, is an independent certifying agency, formed to assure the safety and protection of the public health. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. Together, the standard newly adopted by Avalon Organics, is one that is supported by NSF and ANSI, and is specifically designed to evaluate personal care products.
“Because the NSF/ANSI 305 made with organic standard was written specifically for the personal care industry, it recognizes and evaluates the particular processes and ingredients that are critical to personal care efficacy,” said Froelich-Shea. “Creating even one aesthetically beautiful formula that met the NSF/ANSI 305 standard was an enormously difficult task. Reformulating our entire brand to meet the standard and the expectations of our consumers shows our commitment to the future of organic personal care and our core values of integrity, efficacy, purity and safety.”

Creating the Standard
Froelich-Shea said that while the standard aligns itself with the food standard, it is specific to personal care, and is just as stringent as the food standard. It took three years to develop, and according to Shea, “While consumers aren’t yet familiar with the NSF standard, they sense that it is to be trusted. It has a leaf unit appearing on the package, the leaping bunny, signifying no animal testing, and 100% post-consumer resins are used for the bottles.”

She explained that there is also a third party certifier that comes into the plant in Culver City, CA, and tests products, as well as product locations, for example, to determine that organic products are not next to non-organics.
“Consciousness in cosmetics is key to Avalon,” said Froelich-Shea, who showed a video depicting the processes and products in the newly certified line, and added, “We’ve always made the right choice for safe, effective, and natural products, and have never used parabens, phthalates, or animal testing.” She then introduced Joe Dickson, Food, Organic & Environmental Quality Standards Coordinator, Whole Foods, and one of the writers of the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard.
Dickson emphasized the specificity of the personal care standard and explained how in 2003, he and others set out to create a standard and processes to make an effective organic standard for personal care products that would enable a shower wash, for example, to remain fresh, via hydroxygenation, hydrolysis, and other processes, and arrive at a standard that would ensure consumers a verifiable personal care standard.
According to Dickson, “Hain Celestial has certified more than 100 products to meet the NSF standard. I think they’re setting a shining example for other manufacturers in personal care. It has taken a while to catch up with the food standard, but with the NSF standard, we’ve done that.”
He emphasized that NSF is a private standard, and that Avalon has been working to meet this standard for several years. In that time, the reformulation work insured that all products contain at least 70% organic content; all ingredients are approved by NSF; and the labeling has been updated. The new and improved products will begin shipping in the fourth quarter of 2011, and include new and improved formulations for Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal, to protect against photo aging with antioxidant-intensive formulas, including Refreshing Cleansing Gel, $12.50, with lemon bioflavonoids and white tea, Hydrating Cleansing Milk, with botanical cleansers, $12.50, Balancing Toner, $12.50, Renewal Cream, to relieve oxidative stress, $21.99, and others.

In addition, Avalon Organics offered the Lavender Luminosity Collection, with lavender, licorice root, white tea, and arnica, in a variety of products, including Exfoliating Enzyme Scrub, Ultimate Night Cream, and Revitalizing Eye Gel. Also cited were the newly formulated products in Avalon Organics CoQ10 Repair line, with plant extracts, essential oils, and CoQ10’s powerful antioxidants, which may be found in Wrinkle Defense Night Crème, Ultimate Forming Body Lotion, and Wrinkle Defense Serum. Essential Lift Skin Care, by Avalon Organics, is also among the newly formulated, said to contain 70 oceanic minerals to hydrate and nourish the skin, and plump sagging skin, with 100% vegetarian ingredients in a range of products, from Fortifying Toner, to Smoothing Cleanser, Firming Moisturizer SPF 15, and Contouring Eye Crème. These products will be available in January 2012.
Avalon Organics is available nationwide at Whole Foods Market, Target, Walmart, drug, grocery, and natural food stores, as well as: It is part of the Hain Celestial Group, Inc. brand portfolio, which includes such brands as Celestial Seasonings, Alba Botanica, Zia Natural Skincare and Queen Helene. Additional information may be found at:

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