Choosing a certification standard
#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
#USDA National Organic Program and personal care products
What is the USDA National Organic Program (NOP)?
The 1990 Organic Foods Production Act created the USDA NOP and a single set of rules that govern the production, labeling and marketing of organic products in the U.S.
To become certified to this standard, personal care product operators must undergo a thorough evaluation and review by a USDA-accredited third-party certifier like OTCO.
Can I certify my personal care product to the NOP?
Yes. A personal care product is eligible for review under the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards. The product cannot contain unapproved non-food ingredients or use different, unapproved manufacturing processes than allowed for organic food products.
What organic claims can I make with the NOP standard?
USDA NOP certified organic products claim categories are: “100 percent organic,” “organic” and “made with organic” depending on the percentage of organic content in your product(s).
What non-organic ingredients are allowed for NOP products?
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. All non-agricultural ingredients not listed for approved use disqualify your eligibility for USDA NOP certification but allow you to pursue NSF/ANSI 305 certification.
#NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care standard
What is the NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care Standard?
NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care standard is a private, specific organic standard for personal care products.
The standard encourages greater participation in the manufacturing of personal care products using organically grown ingredients. Additionally, the standard addresses issues around chemical processes, terminology, commercial availability for ingredients, product composition, ingredient calculations, and labeling.
To get certified to NSF/ANSI 305, personal care product operators must undergo a thorough evaluation and review by an accredited third-party certifier like OTCO.
What organic claims can I make with NSF/ANSI 305?
The NSF/ANSI 305 standard is the only U.S. standard for personal care products to make “contains organic ingredients” claims.
What are the NSF/ANSI 305 guiding principles?
NSF/ANSI 305 follows the same guiding principles as the USDA National Organic Program (NOP):
- Protect the environment
- Avoid the use of toxic ingredients in the manufacturing of organic products
- Ensure traceability and organic integrity
NSF/ANSI 305 products follow similar restrictions to the USDA NOP and has comparable requirements:
- Make use of organic agricultural ingredients and non-GMO ingredients
- Provide assurances of contamination and/or commingling prevention
- Maintain quality records for ingredient traceability
- Use environmentally benign processing methods for non-organic ingredients
How “organic” does my NSF/ANSI 305 product need to be?
All NSF/ANSI 305 products need to contain at least 70 percent organic content.
We’ve outlined a few NSF/ANSI 305 specific scenarios (multi-ingredient products, labeling, and sourcing organic and non-organic ingredients). Still have personal care product processing questions? Our Help Center’s Understanding Organic Food Business Certification section applies to NSF/ANSI 305 certification.