Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a $1.76 million settlement with Truly Organic, Inc. and its CEO over allegations that the company’s personal care products advertised as “100% organic” were anything but.
According to the FTC’s complaint, since at least 2015, the company advertised a range of personal care products including body washes, lotions, baby products, haircare, bath, and cleaning sprays as “certified organic, “USDA certified organic,” and “Truly Organic.” The company also claimed its products were “vegan,” despite the presence of animal-derived ingredients like honey and lactose. The FTC contended that none of the company’s products had been certified in compliance with USDA’s NOP. Further, many of the company’s products contain non-organic ingredients included only in lists that are buried among other text on product labels and websites, or contain no organic ingredients at all. The FTC further alleged that some of the company’s products contain non-organic ingredients that can be organically sourced, such as non-organic lemon juice. Other products contain non-organic ingredients that the USDA prohibits in organic handling, such as the chemicals cocamindopropyl betaine and sodium cocosurfactant.
Truly Organic, who neither admitted nor denied the allegations, agreed to pay a monetary judgment of $1.76 million. Additionally, Truly Organic is barred from making future claims that its products are “organic,” “vegan,” or provide any environmental or health benefits without adequate substantiation and competent and reliable scientific evidence.
Takeaway: The FTC continues to be vigilant about policing deceptive environmental or health claims such as “organic” and “all-natural.” Importantly, the FTC is continuing to seek monetary relief against advertisers in addition to any consent decree.