Monday, November 7, 2016
Enjoy some mid-week retail therapy this Wednesday evening--You deserve it! Patrick Street stores are hosting their festive Holiday Open House from 5-9, Nov. 9th. Here's your chance to Shop Patrick Street for amazing holiday gifts before the madness really begins. Win a $200 gift certificate to Patrick Street stores in the process!
Like it or not, many of us spend more money this time of the year, and how and where we spend our money casts a vote for the type of world we want to live in. Make your dollars count! Support women, families and the earth with your purchases. Support businesses and artisans who care about world we live in as much as you do.
2016 Earth-friendly Holiday Gift Ideas
Sustainably Made Home Spa Accessories, Combs and Brushes
Luxurious, Soothing, Certified Organic Lotions, Cremes and Oils
Fair Trade Gifts--Fun, Fanciful Surprises From Around the Globe
USDA Certified Organic Lip Protectors: A Stocking Favorite
Synthetic, chemical moisturizers are no way to treat dry, thirsty skin and hair. It's time to stock up on our USDA Certified Organic Lotions, Cremes, Oils and Lip Protectors. Shop our all-organic moisturizers for body, face and hair in a variety of organic essential oil scent blends, and fragrance-free, too.
Friday, October 7, 2016
It has been about two weeks since I posted our article “The Weight Of Evidence” (September 22, 2016) about the long-term, widespread misrepresentation of the word “organic” on personal care products that are not certified organic. I feel compelled to share that, for the first time in 25 years of business, in just a short span of time in which we publicly posted an article describing the evidence of multi-billion dollar personal care misrepresentation that we collected over many years along with a photo of the evidence, and during the same time period that I make public inquiries and complaints pertaining to this issue and about the industry's lack of sincere support for USDA organic certification for personal care products, and within an hour of making an important inquiry regarding a pending investigation we received an anonymous and serious threat to our business. Wow.
Well, I guess this is how it works in the USA today. Our small mom and pop business has suffered mistreatment, blacklisting and disparagement because we have spoken out about fake organic personal care products and have worked hard to educate the public about this giant problem. The widespread, long-term manipulation of the word organic by unethical fake organic cheater companies that exploit consumers for undeserved financial gains, combined with their anti-competitive and abusive tactics has resulted in our company suffering significant financial loss. How can I possibly remain silent about such illegal, exploitative and predatory actions?
Over the years, I have spoken with other personal care company owners, and one owner told me he was harassed and threatened because he got involved in the fake organic personal care battle and spoke out in opposition to the misrepresentation. A number of years back, I contacted a number of smaller personal care competitors when I was seeking to build an alliance of ethical personal care companies who weren't “organic” cheaters, and some of the company owners told me that they were afraid to join with us and speak out about the fake organic personal care issue because they were worried that they might be bullied, disparaged and blacklisted from stores...like us. How unnerving and discouraging! This all seems so surreal, too much like a formulaic mafia movie, but unfortunately the threat we received was all too real.
This is not a new issue and it's not as if I have been quiet about this huge multi-billion dollar phony organic labeling scheme over the past 20 years. Anyone is free to view the articles posted on our web site and to check the world wide web to confirm how long Terressentials has been fighting this battle. And it is a battle. Our small family-owned and certified organic operation has been losing a great deal of business to personal care product companies, from small start-ups to multinationals, that claim that their non-USDA “certified” and too-often-synthetic-riddled products are “organic,” even “certified organic” and, yes, at times even insinuate “USDA certified organic.” (Not to mention claiming “natural” when the products are not.) This deceptive practice is an outrage and an insult to trusting, organic-minded people and real certified organic businesses, and makes a mockery of our federal law—the USDA National Organic Program.
Since we started our business, we have made a significant investment to research and secure the highest quality certified organic agricultural botanical ingredients and to lovingly and carefully handcraft exquisite, simple and effective genuine certified organic personal care products. For years, we have voluntarily taken on the burden of USDA organic certification that requires a very large amount of money and giant blocks of time to maintain the vast wealth of documentation and the intrusive verification to meet the stringent criteria that is specified under the NOP regulations in order to be able to label our products, authentically, certified organic—to prove to you that we are “the real deal.” For those of you who have just recently discovered us, I'd like to point out that our small business is completely committed to producing high quality personal care products that are as organic as humanly possible and that meet the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. This has been our mission since we started our company in 1991 and since Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990.
Now, so many years later in 2016, we find it enormously frustrating that, despite the US NOP federal law that legally defines the word organic and our highly visible, years-long campaigning about this massive deception, our small family-owned company is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in business every year to increasing numbers—hundreds, if not thousands—of companies that are, quite simply, lying about the “organic” quality of their personal care products. And no one does anything about the cheating! This despicable, widespread practice violates the federal NOP definition of the word organic, cheats you and millions of consumers, and is grossly unfair competition for our legitimately certified organic company.
How can this be, you might ask. Well, we have been asking the same question of everyone that we can think of for many years, even before the final passing of our federal National Organic Program law in 2002. We have repeatedly asked that government agencies, our elected political representatives, lawyers, non-profit eco-minded groups, trade associations, organic manufacturers, writers, medical professionals and many consumers take action against this misuse of the word organic and support only NOP organic certification for personal care products. It is disappointing to report that, unfortunately, all of our actions over so many years—political lobbying; written and face-to-face complaints; public testimony at government hearings and press conferences; media interviews—magazines, radio, newspapers, and television; activist and educational efforts; petitions; brochures; and writing too many articles and letters—have not achieved our desired result: cessation of the organic labeling fraud.
Maybe you wonder why I continue to fight this seemingly impossible battle? I am a cancer and chemo survivor (28 years), a devoted organophile who has spent nearly every day of my life these past 28 years researching ethnobotany, toxic chemicals, industrial manufacturing and environmental issues; growing organic herbs, fruits and flowers; creating and using real organic body care products; and teaching others about real organic everything all along the way. This is what I do to remain cancer-free...and sane. Some days, fighting this fake organic battle steals a little too much energy, but then I receive an encouraging letter sharing a personal health victory and/or a love for our products and company from a passionate customer, or I am contacted by a writer and a good, inspiring story results, or something else happens that refuels me to keep fighting the fight...
Just this past August, I had a little fuel infusion when we learned that the USDA NOP and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intend to hold a Roundtable discussion on October 20 supposedly to examine the consumer's perception of personal care products that are labeled as organic but are not certified organic. Of course, I contacted the FTC to request a seat at the Roundtable and let them know that I have collected vast evidence over 25 years that documents how products are being cleverly marketed to consumers using deceptive methods to mislead them into believing conventional, and even completely synthetic, chemical personal care products are natural and organic.
Imagine my surprise to learn that neither the FTC (nor the NOP) appears to have an interest in sharing my evidence with you. In addition, despite the FTC's original announcement that they were interested in having industry stakeholders seated at the Roundtable, it appears that my well-supported application for a seat at the Roundtable as a certified organic small business—a true industry stakeholder being financially harmed by this rampant fake organic labeling problem—was not well-received and has been ignored. In fact, as of this writing, there are no legitimate certified organic industry stakeholders or any other sincere supporters of USDA certification of personal care companies represented on the Roundtable panel. However, most curiously, the panel does include the OTA and even more strange, the EWG—both groups that have not sincerely supported NOP organic certification for personal care products and that have ties to companies that have profited handsomely from the sale of phony organic personal care products.
So, after my initial glimmer of hope that we might see some government action finally being taken to stop this massive fake organic deception perpetrated against millions of Americans, it appears that the Roundtable might just be a sham circus—more government inaction.
We don't need more inaction, we need government enforcement and intervention now! One simply has to walk down the personal care aisles of just about any store—or look at any one of thousands of websites—and randomly pick up any “natural” or “organic” personal care product and you will see many synthetic chemical ingredients. Unfortunately for you (and us), all of the personal care manufacturers are well-aware that there is no legal definition of the word "natural" and that no government agency is policing the misuse of the word organic on personal care products. So, armed with this valuable knowledge, predatory manufacturers and greedy, unethical retailers peddle their chemical personal care products using the words “natural” and “organic” because they have found that there are no repercussions for them—instead, if they cheat you, they realize huge monetary rewards. Do you see something wrong with this picture?
For a long time, our company slogan has been “Organics for Smart People” with good reason. We know that many of our good and loyal customers who searched for real organic and discovered Terressentials are smart label readers, and we also know that many of you are very environmentally-focused, organic-minded people like us. We want this organic fraud to end, don't you? This is why I'm asking for your help now. You now have a chance to help correct some of the wrongs that have been done against you, your family and friends and our organic community in the name of billions in profits stolen from you by unethical outlaw companies—the organic cheaters.
Will you help to fix this problem—to right this wrong now?
How do we stop so many personal care product companies that have no legitimate USDA organic certification from using our USA legally-defined word organic, from illegally flaunting the USDA organic seal and from claiming to be “certified organic?” How do we get those in government with legal enforcement power to stop looking away from this huge problem and put an end to this fake organic labeling scheme once and for all?
Here's what my team thinks you should do: please write a note stating what you think about this consumer rip-off and tell the Federal Trade Commission, the USDA National Organic Program and your state and federal political representatives (and your local media—newspapers and television, all of your friends and neighbors, share with the world via social media, clubs, church groups—everyone that you can think of) that this organic fraud needs to stop. You can send the Federal Trade Commission your comments right now! Write them here and tell them so! You can send your comments to the USDA National Organic Program with a letter to Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator and/or Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak – write them here now!
To learn more about “How to File a Complaint on Organic Regulations” see:
File A Complaint
More on How to File a Complaint on Organic Regulations
I know you're busy, so I'm providing an example of a sample comment letter (included here, below!) that you can use as is or modify and submit to the FTC Roundtable Comments page and to Ms. Jeanne Bumpus, Director of the Federal Trade Commission. I ask that you please also send a modified letter to Mr. Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program and/or his boss Mr. Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, and, of course, write your Congressperson and Representatives. (Note: an office visit or paper letter carries even more weight with politicians, but an email letter is still received and noted!) Here's a Sample Letter for you to use:
Dear (Ms. Bumpus, Mr. Vilsack, Mr. McEvoy),
I am glad to see the FTC and the USDA National Organic Program working together and to have organized the Roundtable to Examine Consumer Perceptions of “Organic” Claims for Non-Agricultural Products, Specifically Personal Care Products!
The controversial issue of mislabeling conventional and synthetic chemical personal care products as organic has raged for far too long and must stop now. This multi-billion dollar travesty is an insult to health- and environmental- and organic-minded people, and disrespectful of and an egregious violation of our federal National Organic Program (NOP) regulations! This abuse of the word organic cheats trusting consumers, is grossly unfair to organic farmers and organic ingredient processors and distributors, and is dramatically unfair competition to legitimate NOP certified organic American personal care product companies.
In addition, I ask that you stop the flooding of our American marketplace with foreign-made and synthetic personal care products that make bold organic claims and that do not adhere to our strict USDA National Organic Program regulations! This fake organic product invasion harms American consumers and businesses and our local economy.
I also ask that you outlaw the use of any and all industry-created private “organic” personal care standards. It is pointedly deceptive when such an industry standard hides their “organic criteria” from the public, forcing consumers to pay a considerable amount of money to simply review their “organic” certification criteria. This is particularly troublesome when standards like this do not compare to our National Organic Program regulations. This is hardly transparent! What are they hiding and why? I question the legality of such distinctly dissimilar “organic” standards that clearly confuses consumers and dilutes the integrity of the NOP law. Such questionable practices fly in the face of the original Congressional mandate for the creation and passage of the National Organic Program regulations in 2002—the primary intent of which was to eliminate competing and inconsistent organic standards and to create one uniform organic standard!
When personal care products that claim to have organic certification that is not NOP certification and sit side-by-side in retail stores or on web site pages alongside USDA NOP certified organic products, this is a very confusing problem for consumers who see the word organic on the product label and/or web page or shelf tag and believe that all of the products meet the same organic criteria. It is misleading and unfair that non-NOP “certified” products have the company name printed on the label and often include the word “organic” or “organics,” i.e., “Ambush Organics.” Then, to add to the confusion, the front label bears an organic claim and the back label panel bears a USDA-accredited certifier's name!
Lastly, I also write to urge you be sure that Diana Kaye, co-president of Terressentials, a USDA certified organic personal care products business, has a seat at the FTC Roundtable. She is the expert on consumer perceptions of the word organic in the personal care marketplace and has worked tirelessly to collect evidence of organic misrepresentation of personal care products over twenty-five years of doing business. Ms. Kaye has been very active in monitoring the application of the National Organic Program rules across the personal care marketplace, and in educating the public about the NOP labeling rules and product ingredients. She is a devoted consumer advocate for true organic labeling and I trust her to be my voice at the Roundtable discussion. Please include Diana Kaye on the Roundtable panel!
I would greatly appreciate having you stop this widespread misrepresentation of the legally-defined word "organic" as soon as possible. I look forward to the day in the near future when I can purchase honest, authentic USDA certified organic personal care products and know that the word organic when used on personal care products does indeed hold the same, true meaning as other genuine USDA certified organic goods.
Thank you for considering my comments and request and for taking action on this very serious issue.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
To all of our Terressentials customers—thanks for helping us to end organic fraud! Our small organic team greatly appreciates all that you do! Please remember to check your product labels and read all of the ingredients! Remember, too, that even just one chemical ingredient contaminates the entire bottle of product and contaminates your body and our waterways. For your convenience, we've compiled lists of some of the more common industrial cosmetic chemical ingredients that are commonly found in personal care products—yes, sadly, even many products that are labeled “organic” and “natural” and that are not certified to our NOP or even truly natural. Print this Healthy Person's Guide to Personal Care Ingredients and keep it in your wallet or handbag!
The Healthy Person's Guide to Personal Care Ingredients
We also have our “Dirty Double Dozen – X2” which is a handy, compact pocket guide that lists 48 of some of the common chemical nasties found in personal care products (yes, even so-called natural and organic products!) that we think you'll want to avoid! (You can pick up our pocket guide at one of our Maryland stores or request one to be shipped with your next web site order—it's free!)
If you haven't already done so, please be sure to sign up to receive our Terressentials Organic Newsletter (click here to subscribe to newsletter) and stay tuned for more marketplace and Terressentials news, special offers and event updates—and never any spam!
Again, thank you from your good friends...
The Terressentials team
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Since working for Terressentials, I have at my disposal many beautiful and amazing and truly fabuloso body care products (my all time favorite still remains the Flower Therapy Replenishing Cream) and all of the eye-catching and exquisite fair trade, fair made array of gifts and wearable art found at our downtown Frederick store.
My confession is.... that although our Hair Wash is truly wonderful, when I use it I have incredible static, still after using it for years now.
I have been washing my hair with our body wash and following with an apple cider vinegar rinse. I don't have a problem with static using the body wash. And my hair looks and smells great! That is my confession....the static problem with our hair wash still after so many years.
After getting home from a recent trip to Texas to visit my dear sister, I realized that I had left my comb at her house! It was this big, plastic, nylon, lime green thing that I've had as long as I can remember. There have been many times, looking at it, that I would wish I would lose it! But it stuck around. Always easy to find in the bathroom drawer.
Now there I am with wet long hair and no comb! I tried “brushing” out my wet hair but felt the constant tug from the bristles of the brush must be hard on my hair not to mention very annoying to me!
While at work one day, I remembered the beautiful hand made wooden combs crafted from local sustainably harvested cherry wood in Pennsylvania (my home state). Cherry wood is a hard wood that is strong enough to untangle stubborn knots.
Like a lot of things in life, I never really paid attention to the combs in the store, thinking....how can a wooden comb possibly get through my hair? And, like a lot of times in my life, I was wrong. It goes though my hair just fine! And it's beautiful too! I don't know about you but I feel better using handmade and of the earth real things.
So... I have the comb, it works, I love it and hope to never lose it. The question is, will using a wooden comb really help with my static problem? The answer.....A resounding YES! I was skeptical, I admit, but I used our hair wash and for the first time ever, I had no static all day long!
Like drinking water from a beautiful glass makes it taste better, using products that are of and from the earth make life much better. It's about the connection. Terressentials strives to bring that connection of earth and beauty to you, you just have to choose it.
I know combs aren't a very exciting purchase but it's something we use everyday so why not have a beautiful one. Come see what Terressentials has to offer!
Thursday, September 22, 2016
We have included this photo so that you can see the volume of "organic" personal care product misrepresentation evidence that Diana Kaye, co-president of Terressentials, has collected for more than twenty years! The volume of the documentation even surprised us when we had to load it on the scale!
The Weight Of The Evidence: Here's a close-up view of the scale's readout from the photo above—that's right, nearly 250 pounds of fake organic personal care products evidence!
URGENT! Please take time right now to read this important information regarding an upcoming, long-anticipated event—a joint Federal Trade Commission and USDA Roundtable investigation (in October) surrounding the issue of personal care fraud and a request for YOUR opinion— your golden opportunity to speak out against organic fraud in the personal care marketplace. You now have a chance to help correct some of the wrongs that have been done against you, your family and friends and our organic community in the name of billions in profits taken from you by unethical outlaw companies—the organic cheaters.
One simply has to walk down the personal care aisles of just about any store—or look at any one of thousands of websites—and randomly pick up any “natural” or “organic” personal care product and you will see many synthetic chemical ingredients. Unfortunately for you, it is well-known in the personal care industry that there is no legal definition of the word "natural." Armed with this knowledge, predatory manufacturers and greedy, unethical retailers peddle their chemical products using the words "natural" and "organic" because they have found that there are no repercussions for them, rather, if they cheat you, they realize huge monetary rewards.
Most people have no idea that the government has, strangely, refused to cite, indict or fine manufacturers or retailers for misrepresenting chemical ingredients and largely synthetic chemical personal care products as "organic." It is especially bizarre that, even with much notable identification of such organic labeling fraud and:
- USDA federal regulations defining the word "organic" and the legal and illegal use of the word organic on product labels and in marketing/promotional materials
- FDA policy statement that requires personal care product companies "must comply with USDA regulations for the organic claim" if they refer to or imply that their products are organic via product labeling
- Lanham Act—under FTC purview—a federal law designed to protect consumers and businesses from false advertising and unfair c ompetition
We have some promising news. On Thursday, October 20 in Washington DC, the FTC and the USDA will be co-hosting a Roundtable discussion, open to the public, to examine YOUR perceptions of “organic” labeling of non-certified personal care products. It has been announced that the panel will consist of industry representatives, consumer advocates, and academics. Diana Kaye, the co-founder of Terressentials (celebrating a 25 year anniversary!), is a long-time organic labeling watchdog. She has compiled thousands of pages of evidence (see photo at top of page) documenting this “organic” labeling fraud—product labels, ads, marketing materials, catalogs, even actual product samples. (All secured in an off-site location, of course.) Diana is now looking to share this disturbing evidence with you, the media, and government agents. We want this organic fraud to end, don't you?
Terressentials is the industry leader and pioneer of truly organic body care and Diana needs to be seated at the Roundtable! The Roundtable panelists are invited by the FTC and the USDA. Wouldn't it make sense for these agencies to invite Diana? Write them here and tell them so! Make sure that Diana, the most prominent advocate for our National Organic Program and upholding USDA organic certification—the internationally-recognized Gold Standard—for personal care products, is seated at the Roundtable to advocate for you and to encourage the enforcement of organic and consumer fraud regulations.
For more information about the Roundtable, including contact information and location, see the FTC site. We know you're busy, so we're providing you with an example of a sample comment (included here, below!) that you can use as is or modify and submit to the FTC comments page and the Director of the Federal Trade Commission, Ms. Jeanne Bumpus. Sample letter:
Dear Ms. Bumpus,
Thank you so much for authorizing the new Roundtable to Examine Consumer Perceptions of “Organic” Claims for Non-Agricultural Products, Specifically Personal Care Products!
This controversial issue of mislabeling conventional and synthetic chemical personal care products as organic has raged for far too long. This travesty is an insult to health- and environmental- and organic-minded people, and disrespectful of and an egregious violation of our National Organic Program regulations! This abuse of the word organic is also grossly unfair to organic farmers and is dramatically unfair competition to legitimately certified organic American personal care product companies. Also, we must address and stop the flooding of our American marketplace with foreign-made and synthetic personal care products that make bold organic claims and that do not adhere to our strict USDA National Organic Program regulations! This fake organic product invasion harms American consumers and businesses and our local economy.
I am also writing to urge you be sure that Diana Kaye, co-president of Terressentials, a USDA certified organic personal care products business, has a seat at the Roundtable. She is the expert on consumer perceptions of the word organic in the personal care marketplace and has worked tirelessly to collect evidence of organic misrepresentation of personal care products over twenty-five years of doing business. Ms. Kaye has been very active in monitoring the application of the National Organic Program rules across the personal care marketplace, and in educating the public about the NOP labeling rules. She is a devoted consumer advocate for true organic labeling and I trust her to be my voice at the Roundtable discussion. Please include Diana Kaye on the Roundtable panel!
I would greatly appreciate having you stop this widespread misrepresentation of the legally-defined word "organic" as soon as possible please. I look forward to the day in the near future when I can purchase honest, authentic USDA certified organic personal care products and know that the word on personal care products does indeed hold the same, true meaning as other genuine USDA certified organic goods.
Thank you for asking for my opinion and for considering my request and for taking action on this very serious issue!
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Dear Terressentials smart friends and good customers,
We'd like for you to know that our small organic team is also working to get this news out via petitions, and articles via blogs, newsletters, web site postings, etc., and we would greatly appreciate you joining us in helping to spread/share the word about this historic Roundtable event. Please do share this article everywhere that you can!
Also, if you haven't already done so, please do be sure to sign up to receive our Terressentials Organic Newsletter (link here on this page) and stay tuned for more markteplace and Terressentials news, special offers and event updates—and never any spam!
Please know, too, that our small organic team greatly appreciates all that YOU do—thanks!
The Terressentials team