New Study Shows Consumers Are Confused Over Organic Claims on Non-Agricultural Products

A public roundtable on October 20 in Washington, D.C., will consider the findings of a new study on consumer understanding of which products are covered by the organic label.

The roundtable will feature invited panelists including consumer advocates, organic representatives, and academics. It will be free and open to the public.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in response to industry requests, conducted a study to assess consumer response to “organic” labels on products that fall outside the scope of the federal National Organic Program. The survey looked at how consumers responded to organic claims for shampoos, mattresses, and dry cleaning services, which are not covered by federal organic standards. Approximately 35 percent of consumers thought that an organic claim on a shampoo or mattress indicates that the product meets a government standard, and 30 percent believe that USDA regulates these organic claims.

FTC concluded that consumer misunderstanding of the organic label’s scope warranted further investigation. In addition to the roundtable, they will accept comments through December 1, 2016, on consumer perception of organic claims. Interested parties may file a comment electronically.

Alternatively, paper comments may be mailed to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or they may be delivered to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20024.

Please write “Green Guides – Organic Roundtable, Project No. P954501” on your comment so that it will be readily identified with this roundtable.

Comments will be posted on the roundtable’s public webpage.

For more information on the roundtable, email or contact Matt Jones of the Bureau of Economics at (202) 326-3529, or Brad Winter of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at (202) 326-2597.

Download the FTC report.

Source: FTC Press Release.