Babyganics Class Action Explores Issues Central To Organic Deception
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
Plaintiffs claim the SC Johnson brand’s marketing statements and name are clear attempts to capitalize on consumer demand for organic, but its product formulations fall short of organic standards and “reasonable consumer” expectations. Filed in New York’s Southern District, the proposed class action gets at the heart of issues recently discussed in an FTC/USDA roundtable.
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The SC Johnson brand can continue to use the name Babyganics as long as it specifies on product labeling which ingredients are organic, and which aren’t, per a pending class action settlement in New York’s Southern District. The company also has agreed to sunscreen batch testing for a three-year period to verify the authenticity of SPF claims.
Industry and consumer advocates have ideas about how “organic” claims should be regulated in the personal-care sector, but what’s been missing from the FTC’s standpoint is what “reasonable consumers” expect from organic cosmetics and further evidence of factors that influence their buying decisions.
The need for stronger federal oversight over the “organic” personal care segment has been somewhat lost in recent years amid clamoring for action on “natural” claims, but organic deception is still a problem, stakeholders say. However, neither USDA nor the FTC seems entirely equipped or ready to commit to increased involvement, based on discussion at a recent roundtable they held in Washington.