Over the last decade there is increasing consumer demand for natural and organic products, particularly in the food, personal care, and household product categories. While there is no government or legal definition of the word “natural” for food and consumer products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) follows a policy that was established in 1993. In short, that policy states that the term ‘natural’ can be used on food labels as long as it is used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic ingredients. Further, the use of the term natural may not be used in the ingredient list except when it is used as ‘natural flavorings’.
Enter the Natural Products Association (NPA), the oldest and largest non-profit organization representing manufacturers and retailers of the natural products market including organic, health foods, dietary supplements, and natural ingredient cosmetics. Founded in 1936, the NPA requires that certified products in the personal care and home care sector, the only type of products than can be certified, be at least 95% natural ingredients or ingredients from natural sources, excluding water. In order to get the NPA certification, the list of ingredients must be natural, not pose any health risks, don’t include animal testing, and include biodegradable or recyclable packaging material. The Natural Seal, launched by the NPA in 2008, is the most predominantly used natural certification for personal care products. In 2010, the NPA introduced a certification for home care products as well.