What is ‘organic’?

When consumers buy ‘organic’, they assume they are buying products of natural origin that are free from harmful chemicals such as pesticides, but this is not always the case. Ambiguity and loopholes within regulations mean that an organic product is not always as pure and healthy as it is claimed. True organic production should be based on all three organic principles: natural, whenever feasible, safe and sustainable, protecting both humans and the planet.

While not all products can be made in a 100% natural or farmed way, it is possible for organic production principles to be applied across all industries, products and services. Organic industries should take into account their environmental impact throughout the product or service full life cycle, and develop products and services that are fully organic, not just partially.

Aren’t we already protected by governmental health and safety regulations?

Numerous governmental regulations were designed to protect public health and the environment worldwide. However, there is an alarming disparity between regulations, as well as a lack of clarity as to what is permitted and what is banned, leaving grey areas that can be manipulated by unethical businesses for profiteering. Furthermore, with increasing globalisation and reliance on imported goods, products regulation is worse than ever before.

The main shortcoming is that quality assurance is mostly based on self-control and self-declaration. As a result, organic products may contain residues of synthetic non-organic pesticides and fertilisers that are banned under organic farming regulations but are present due to the contamination of our environment. In addition, organic-approved pesticide and fertiliser[1] residues may be present. European Union (EU) monitoring found a wide range of pesticide residues in various organic food products and even traces of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT),[2] a highly persistent toxic pesticide that has been banned in the EU and USA since the 1970s.

There is a real need for a global improvement and, more importantly, unification of existing norms, not only between countries but also between regulations governing human and environmental health.

Why do I need the Organics Council ®?

We work for global change in policies and regulations to guarantee that no substance will be approved for use in industry if there is significant scientific evidence of human toxicity or the potential for planet pollution. We represent the interests of public health before the needs of industry. Although many existing regulations are designed to protect industrial needs in combination with public health, the Organics Council ® puts public health and environmental interests as the top priorities and before the needs of the industry, without compromise.

What is the Organics Council ®?

The Organics Council ® was started as a collective of concerned scientists and professionals, disturbed by the number of toxins the world is legally exposed to. Our initial aim was to pressurise government bodies and regulatory organisations into banning harmful substances from products such as food contact material. We have since evolved into a unique social interest organisation, maintaining the fundamental principles of scientific excellence and transparency and putting human safety and planet protection first. The Organics Council ® impartially assess substance safety for both human and environmental health, setting a global gold standard in substance safety assessment. Using the Organics Council ® Regulations and Approved Substance List, we are leading the way in making a truly safe, sustainable and circular economy happen.

How is the Organics Council ® funded?

The main source of funding of the Organics Council originates in the consultation and research work we provide to OrganiTrust ®, our sister social project, and other NGO initiatives aimed at actioning a circular economy. Nevertheless, our funding still relies heavily on public donations, which sustain the progress of our impartial substance safety assessments and allow us to provide guidance on circular economy to the most socially responsible entities worldwide. A key factor in our success is our independence from the influences of industry and government; therefore, to ensure we maintain our impartiality at all times, we do not accept donations from industry or government bodies under any circumstances.

All donations received and their allocation are audited and monitored by the Audit Committee, in line with the Organics Council ® Impartiality Management Policy. This policy, along with our annual donation report, is available to the public. We are (and we will remain) fully independent and impartial in all of our activities, regulations, standards and guidance, as well as when conducting substance safety assessments.
Visit our Donate page to learn about what kind of support we receive and what social goals we achieve with it.

How can I support the Organics Council ®?

If you share in the Organics Council ®’s mission, there are a number of ways for you to support our work, including: spreading the word about our campaigns, volunteering your time to be part of the Audit Committee or Science Committee, fundraising and donating.
As an organisation, you can support our mission by certifying your products, goods and services to OrganiTrust ® standards or by using only Organics Council ® approved ingredients and materials in your business.

To find out more about supporting the Organics Council ®, please visit our Join Us page.

How can I find out more about current issues regarding public and environmental health?

Significant amounts of public money and countless hours are being spent on research to assess the real harmful effects of chemicals and products commonly used worldwide. Still, it can be difficult for the general public to access this type of information due to scientific language; the Organics Council ® helps people interpret the findings and use that knowledge in their daily life to make safer and more sustainable choices.

Our social project website whatishealthy.info is an open-source database aimed at accumulating scientific knowledge converted into layman terms, allowing the public to easily discover the facts behind corporate fiction.

We don’t sell opinions or preach about ‘natural’ alternatives; we simply present scientific facts from proven authoritative sources, drawing scientific conclusions but allowing the readers to make up their own mind. Don’t make your consumer choices based on adverts or labelling gimmicks; instead, make choices based on facts and latest scientific knowledge. By arming yourself with knowledge, you can be confident you are doing the right thing.

Life is too short to take a chance; learn the facts of your daily exposure to toxic substances on whatishealthy.info

How are the Organics Council ®, OrganiTrust ® and whatishealthy.info related?

The Organics Council ® initiated both whatishealthy.info and OrganiTrust ®.

OrganiTrust ® is the first global pilot certification scheme ensuring products and services are designed and made following Organics Council ® Regulations, which require all products (food and non-food) and services to comply with the most robust organic and circular economy principles. OrganiTrust ® certifies the most socially concerned businesses and acts as the pilot safety scheme that the Organics Council ® consults and supports. OrganiTrust ® scheme is impartial and fully transparent, putting the public health and the protection of the planet before the needs of industry.

The social project whatishealthy.info is another initiative of the Organics Council ®, set up to inform the public on daily toxic exposure and suggest practical ways to improve the safety and health of both humans and the planet.

1. Official Journal of the European Union (2016), Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/673. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32016R0673&from=EN
2. The Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food. (2015) Report on the Pesticide Residues Monitoring Programme for Quarter 1 2015. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20151023155227/http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/Resources/CRD/PRiF/Documents/Results%20and%20Reports/2015/Q1%202015%20FINAL.pdf