ACCC targets misleading organic claims


By Gali Blacher

Dreamz Pty Ltd, trading as GAIA Skin Naturals (GAIA), has paid $37,800 in penalties for alleged false or misleading representations after the ACCC issued three infringement notices.

The ACCC said, GAIA described its Natural Baby Bath & Body Wash, Baby Shampoo and Baby Moisturiser as “Pure, Natural, Organic”. However, according to the ACCC, these products contain two synthetic chemical preservatives: sodium hydroxyl methyl glycinate and phenoxyethanol.

“Businesses making organic claims must be able to substantiate those claims. GAIA’s claims may have misled consumers into thinking these products are free from synthetic chemicals when they are not,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“This enforcement outcome with GAIA forms part of broader work by the ACCC relating to organic representations. Acting on information from stakeholders, the ACCC has assessed the use of organic claims across a range of businesses and products.”

 Sue Willis, General Manager, Australian Organic, said, “We fully support the ACCC in targeting misleading organic claims and welcome the news that this company has been called to account for its behaviour.”
Marg Will, Secretary of the Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council (OISCC), which maintains the National Standards for Organic and Biodynamic Produce in Australia, said, “Australian Organic should be commended for its work in bringing this case to action. The ACCC decision is the best thing to happen in the organic industry in the last 20 years and represents a watershed moment.”
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