The Center for Environmental Health has filed a complaint for injunctive relief in a California state court against a number of companies that apparently sell personal care products as organic despite their failure to include at least 70 percent organic ingredients by weight as required under state law. Ctr. for Envtl. Health v. Advantage Research Labs., Inc., No. n/a (Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda County, filed June 16, 2011). The complaint alleges that some of the products at issue, including hair conditioners, moisturizing lotions, facial cleansers, body washes, shampoos, and deodorants, contain no or few organic ingredients, while being prominently labeled as organic.
Noting that more than 70 percent of U.S. households now use some organic products each year and that one of the fastest growing markets is for organic personal care products, the center contends that consumers are willing to pay more for these products and that the defendants have taken advantage of this segment of the market “by labeling the Products as organic when in fact such Products contain significant amounts of non-organic ingredients.” Alleging violations of the California Organic Products Act of 2003, the center seeks an order enjoining the defendants from violating the law, requiring the defendants to correct past violations and granting the non-profit reasonable attorney’s fees and the costs of suit.