Scope: Personal Care Products.
Introduction: The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) has partnered with the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to form an organic standard for personal care products. The NSF and the OTA began working on an organic standard for personal care products in 2004, shortly after the USDA stated that personal care products may not be covered under their organic program. The NSF created a rigorous organic standard designed specifically for personal care products that would eventually be adopted by the USDA as an encompassing standard for food and personal care. The NSF is credited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a standard developer.
Principles: The guiding principles of the NSF organic standard are parallel to those of the USDA organic standard, but are focused on the unique requirements of personal care product formulations. NSF organic agriculture is defined as an "ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity." At the core of organic agriculture is minimal use of off-farm inputs such as conventional pesticides, petroleum based fertilizers, or sewage sludge based fertilizers. Organic management practices are designed to restore, maintain, and enhance ecological harmony.
Certifications: The NSF Organic certification mirrors the USDA Organic Certification in most aspects, however the "made with" category differs slightly in the allowance of several processes and ingredients that are currently banned by the USDA, including certain synthetic preservatives and biodegradable surfactants.
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