Navigating differences for personal care standards

What is a personal care product?

The scope of the NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care standard includes, but is not limited to, products with over 70 percent organic content such as:

  • Rinse-off/leave-on personal care products
  • Cosmetic products
  • Oral care products
  • Personal hygiene products

Before you apply for certification, it is crucial to first determine if your personal care product(s) qualifies for USDA National Organic Program (NOP) certification, or if you need to pursue NSF/ANSI 305 certification.

What are the differences between USDA NOP and NSF/ANSI 305?

As a personal care product producer, you have two options for choosing a standard to best fit your product:

USDA National Organic Program (NOP):
A personal care product is eligible to be reviewed under the USDA NOP standard as long as it does not contain unapproved non-food ingredients or use different, unapproved manufacturing processes than food products.

NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care Standard
NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care is a private label organic standard, focused on the ingredients and processes for personal care products. While certain non-organic ingredients that aren’t allowed under the USDA NOP are permitted under NSF/ANSI 305, at least 70 percent organic content is required to be eligible for certification.

Which standard am I eligible for?

If you want to use any non-agricultural ingredients, they must be listed on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for approved use to be eligible for USDA NOP. If your non-agricultural ingredients disqualify your eligibility for USDA NOP certification, you may still pursue NSF/ANSI 305 certification.

Both standards require at least 70 percent organic content.

Which processes are prohibited?

NSF/ANSI 305 follows most of the USDA NOP’s restrictions to use only approved methods and follow material restrictions for organic products. Prohibitions include:

  • Use of all unallowed non-organic, non-agricultural substances per the National List (USDA NOP only)
  • Use of genetic modification and/or genetic engineering
  • Use of ionizing radiation
  • Use of sewage sludge

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