What information do Neal’s Yard Remedies product ingredient labels contain? How do they differ from US product labeling? The European Union sets a higher level of transparency for finished cosmetic products, preventing the marketing of hazardous ingredients, and strengthening safety for consumers.
What does it mean to be organic?
In the US the term “organic” is not defined in the regulations that FDA enforces under their authority for cosmetic products. Neal’s Yard Remedies products are manufactured in England, and the ingredients in them are certified organic by the Soil Association, a well respected non-profit third party certification organization. It is considered one of the most stringent of organic certification bodies anywhere in the world. Food, health, beauty and textile products that hold the Soil Association organic symbol have been produced to the highest possible animal welfare and environmental standards.
Products containing more than 95% certified organic ingredients can carry the Soil Association logo and use “organic” in the product name. Items with 70-95% certified organic ingredients can carry the Soil Association label, but do not have “organic” in the product name. Products with less than 70% organic ingredients will have the organic ingredients indicated with an asterisk (*). Clay based products are an exception, as only agricultural products can be considered organic.
What about those symbols?
Neal’s Yard Remedies products will have either the hour glass symbol which stands for Date of Minimum Durability, or BBE which stands for Best Before End Date. It’s important to note these are not expiration dates. A products who’s BBE date has come and gone may still be good. The best way to check if a product is usable is by aroma, appearance and texture. So many factors go into a product staying fresh, like the temperature it was stored at, and whether a spatula was used for products in jars. The other symbol on the packaging is the open jar, or PAO. This gives you the Period After Opening, or number of months that the product will be at its best. Typically this will be 3, 6 or 12 months. Each product will contain a Batch number. Quality Control keeps a reference sample at the factory from each batch.
How long do Essential Oils last?
Essential oils don’t expire, therefore you won’t find an expiration date on them. It is recommended you use them within 12 months, however many will be good well beyond that. The citrus oils tend to lose their usefulness quicker. A great way to use older oils is for cleaning.
In the European Union full ingredients, listed in decreasing order, are compulsory on the labels. The INCI, the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients is a standardized system of naming ingredients, requiring plant ingredients to be listed by the botanical names. When a product contains essential oils, the constituents of the essential oils must be listed. This is a EU requirement, they were not added separately. These essential oil constituents are listed on the labels in italics.
Labeling laws are more lax in the US. Ingredients can be hidden under “fragrance,” “parfum,” and by simply listing “key ingredients.” Trade secret laws permit many ingredients to be hidden from ingredient labels.
You will also find a list of ingredients never used in Neal’s Yard Remedies products on the label, such as parabens, synthetic fragrance, and mineral oil. Read more about what goes into Neal’s Yard Remedies products in the Ingredients Statement.
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