RSS Feed

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Are there federal requirements for calling a mattress “organic”?

Answer: Yes. And verifying these requirements is the only way to make sure you’re not falling victim to fraudulent advertising claims when shopping for an organic mattress.

The government agency that controls use of the word “organic” is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under Title XXI of the 1990 Farm Bill, otherwise known as The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.

This Act established national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products in order to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard and to facilitate fairness within interstate commerce.

USDA control over use of the word “organic” extends to non-edible agricultural crops such as cotton and rubber trees, and further extends to non-edible products derived from livestock, such as wool.

To call any of these raw materials “organic,” each producer must meet the requirements listed in the Act and subject its facility and products to annual audit by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.”

Furthermore, for a complex finished textile product, such as a mattress, to be called organic it must be composed of a minimum of 95% certified raw materials as listed above. Then independently, the company manufacturing the mattress must also meet the requirements as listed in the Act and to subject its facility and finished products to an independent annual textile audit to standards such as GOTS, by a USDA-approved certifying agent.

Therefore, to call a mattress “organic” or to sell it as such, the company producing the mattress must earn independent organic status and be awarded an organic certificate annually in their name. This means that a mattress cannot be called organic simply because it is made up of one, some, or even all organic raw materials. It is the “certifying agent” that substantiates that the organic claim being made is actually true. It must be a USDA-approved certifying agent, who through an audit process can give a company legitimate claim or right to use the term “organic.”

Legislation in the United States established the Federal Trade Commission Act in1914. Under this Act, the Commission is empowered to, among other things, prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive consumer acts or representations affecting commerce.

If a company calls its product “organic” and its facility, methods, and specific products have not been awarded organic status by a USDA-approved certifying agent, that claim is deceptive, and constitutes an unfair method of competition in the marketplace. Unfair marketing claims fall under the purview of the FTC.

Specific to environmental claims, the FTC has published the “Green Guide.” While the guide defines a number of environmental terms and correct use and association of logos and seals, the primary emphasis of the document is substantiation. Environmental marketing claims must be substantiated.

Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. A representation, omission, or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances and is material to consumers’ decisions. See FTC Policy Statement on Deception, 103 FTC 174 (1983). To determine if an advertisement is deceptive, marketers must identify all express and implied claims that the advertisement reasonably conveys. Marketers must ensure that all reasonable interpretations of their claims are truthful, not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis before they make the claims. See FTC Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation, 104 FTC 839 (1984).

In the context of environmental marketing claims, a reasonable basis often requires competent and reliable scientific evidence. Such evidence consists of tests, analyses, research, or studies that have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons and are generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results. Such evidence should be sufficient in quality and quantity based on standards generally accepted in the relevant scientific fields, when considered in light of the entire body of relevant and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiate that each of the marketing claims is true.

James Kohm is the Associate Director for the Enforcement Division of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. In that capacity, he oversees enforcement of all consumer protection orders and the Commission’s Green Marketing program. When Mr. Kohm spoke on January 27, 2013 at the World Market Center, he made clear that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not define what is or can be called organic. The FTC can conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce and seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers and other businesses from unsubstantiated environmental claims.

At OMI, we’ve worked hard to establish and maintain a comprehensive organic program. This ensures the creation and assurance of certified organic goods. Testing, quality assurance, lot tracking, purchasing organic raw materials (despite the higher cost), and spending thousands annually on auditing are just a few of the ways in which we keep our rigorous organic program in place. Third-party certification is the only thing protecting us from companies that do none of these things, but would try nevertheless to reap marketing dollars by fraudulently associating the term “organic” with their products.

It does not fall to the consumer or retailer to judge what is or is not organic. For a company to call its products “organic” it must have been granted organic status by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.” The consumer need only confirm a valid certificate with the company’s name and products listed, not a certification showing the name of a grower or producer. At OMI, we’ve covered all the bases, so you can “rest” assured you’re purchasing a TRULY organic mattress.

Have a Green Easter: 9 Organic and Eco-Friendly Ideas

egg-161199_640

Easter is a holiday of colorful decorations, sweet snacks, increasingly warm weather, and wonderful outdoor activities for the whole family. It is also a holiday that can create a lot of waste because of one-time-use decorations, toys, and wrappers. If you and your family are looking to have a greener Easter, here are some organic and environmentally friendly ideas.

  1. Prepare a delicious organic Easter breakfast, like this recipe for Artichoke-Scrambled Eggs Benedict. It replaces the English muffin with artichoke bottoms for a low-carbohydrate alternative.

Artichoke-Scrambled Eggs Benedict

~Serves 4

Ingredients

            8 canned organic artichoke bottoms

            6 large organic eggs

            4 large organic egg whites

            4 teaspoons organic extra-virgin olive oil, divided

            1/3 cup chopped organic pancetta

            2 tablespoons reduced-fat organic cream cheese

            2 tablespoons reduced-fat organic mayonnaise

            2 tablespoons nonfat plain organic yogurt

            1 teaspoon water

            2 teaspoons organic lemon juice

            1/4 teaspoon organic salt

            3 teaspoons chopped fresh organic oregano, divided, plus garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss artichoke bottoms with 2 teaspoons oil and 2 teaspoons oregano. Place artichoke bottoms on half of a large baking sheet, topside down. Spread 1/3 cup chopped pancetta evenly on the other half of the baking sheet. Roast until the artichokes begin to brown and the pancetta is crispy (about 12 minutes).

While the pancetta and artichokes are roasting, whisk lemon juice, water, yogurt, and mayonnaise in a bowl until smooth.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil on medium-high. Add the eggs, stirring and folding constantly with spatula for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in cream cheese, salt, and 1 teaspoon oregano.

Divide artichoke bottoms among 4 plates, topping each with scrambled egg, pancetta, and lemon sauce. Garnish with oregano and enjoy!

14005403399_97195dc2b4_o

  1. Instead of buying new Easter baskets, reuse baskets from previous years and revamp them with new decorations. If you don’t have any from last year, purchase them from a garage sale or resale store. Or, even better, make your own unique baskets from scrap fabric or any other materials you might have around the house.

easter-basket-grass-easter-grass.jpg

  1. Don’t use plastic grass in your Easter egg baskets. Not only does it go to the landfill after one day of use, but it’s also toxic, and many young children end up ingesting it. Instead, shred some colorful paper from the office or home that was headed to recycling, or use some fabric from old clothing.

farm-fresh-623251_640

  1. Instead of using plastic Easter eggs, use real organic eggs, round stones, paper mache, or even felt. There are all sorts of creative alternatives to boring, toxic, plastic eggs.

143382690

  1. Rather than using artificial dyes for decorating your eggs, use natural alternatives. A variety of fruit juices can be used to get different colors, or you can try using saffron, coffee, or red wine.

Potato_salad_(1)

  1. Use any leftover hardboiled eggs for a delicious Easter snack of potato salad, deviled eggs, or egg salad sandwiches. This way you are not wasting any unused eggs.

768ba7ad3579a893f022b39cd8d8ff90

  1. Purchase organic chocolate bunnies and candies. Or for even more Easter fun, make your own organic fruit snacks with this easy recipe!

Organic Fruit Snacks

Ingredients

1 cup organic fruit puree

5 tablespoons raw organic honey

6 tablespoons organic gelatin

Directions

Puree your fruit of choice in a blender or food processor and measure out one cup of puree (about one and a half cups of chopped fruit should make one cup of puree).

Warm puree on the stove at medium heat in a medium-sized pot until the puree is warm, but not too hot to touch.

Mix in the raw honey and then slowly stir in the gelatin until it becomes an even consistency.

Pour the mixture into fun shaped silicone molds, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and make a sheet that can be cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.

Place in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set, and they are ready to be enjoyed!

15776892338_ebfee2c345_o

  1. Easter is the perfect time to plant a garden. This activity is perfect for kids, who can learn to plant seeds and water them until they grow. It is educational and eco-friendly!

Late_for_Easter

  1. Adopt a bunny from your local animal shelter. The kids will love it, you will be helping an animal in need, and you will have natural fertilizer for your yard!

Happy Presidents Day

Mountrushmore

Take Sleep Seriously!

Meet Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist who studies sleep patterns in the brain. In the following video, he speaks about a range of topics relating to the importance of sleep.

He first describes three theories on the main function of sleep, as well as which theory he subscribes to. He then discusses what happens to a person (and the person’s brain) when sleep is lacking, as well as ideas about how to improve sleep quality and duration. Foster debunks some common myths and misconceptions about sleep, then speaks about the correlation between mental health and sleep disruption. He urges people to take sleep more seriously and realize the huge role that it plays in making us happy and healthy.

Watch to learn more:

Plan A Picnic

 

images

Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect occasion to pack a picnic and head outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather. First you have to decide what dishes to bring. Typical picnic foods can include hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and cookies, which are not the healthiest choices (though they may be delicious). If you’re looking for better options, here are 10 healthy finger-food ideas for your next picnic outing!

images-1

1. Edamame

images-2

2. Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)

images-3

3. Grilled Vegetables (zucchini, squash, mushrooms, etc.)

images-4

4. Pita Chips with Hummus

images-5

5. Homemade Trail Mix (dried fruits and nuts)

3870174472_1307d91a4f_z

6. Turkey Sandwiches with low-fat ingredients (whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and low-fat cheese)

images

7. Shrimp and Lemon Skewers

images-6

8. Yogurt

images-7

9. Fruit Salad

images-8

10. Angel Food Cake (low in calories) with fresh fruit and fat-free whipped cream

Now that your basket is packed with delicious foods, it’s time to head out and enjoy the beauty of nature!

 

Don’t Lose Sleep During Sleep Awareness Week

Posted on

Wake up!  Sleep Awareness Week is now underway and will wrap up with everyone losing an extra hour of sleep for Daylight Savings Time.  The National Sleep Foundation recently released the Sleep in America Poll® examining the sleep habits of caregivers and their children.

 

The primary objectives of the research included looking at parents’ perception of the importance of sleep, factors that impaired sleep and the impact of various types of electronic devices in parents’ and children’s bedrooms.  Not surprisingly, parents placed great value in the importance of sleep for their own health and wellbeing and for their children.  Over 90% felt a good night’s sleep helped with mood, health and performance. Of the parents that responded, 69% felt the importance of sleep was extremely important for their child’s performance at school.

Image

photo credit Image Source/Getty

Factors that made sleep more difficult included juggling evening activities, homework, temperature, noise, light and pets.  Managing busy family afternoon and evening activities was the most common challenge.  The survey revealed that 41% of parents and 34% of children experienced getting a good night’s sleep due to evening activities.  Temperature was a factor in impaired sleep for 35% of parents. 

Electronic devices are commonplace throughout the home.  When used in the bedroom they have the potential to disrupt the quality and duration of sleep.  The light and noise from these devices can also lead to delayed bedtimes.  Televisions were the most common device found in bedrooms, with 62% of parents and 45% of children having televisions in their bedrooms.  Leaving electronic devices on at night can especially cause sleep to suffer, and the television was left on more often than any other device.

Are you aware of your sleeping habits?  Do you tend to have lots of activities in the evening?  Is your bedroom filled with electronic devices that might be robbing you of restful sleep?  Learning about your sleeping habits and rituals is the first step.  The National Sleep Foundation, which commissioned this study, is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that Americans are aware that their sleep is an important aspect of their overall health and safety. 

Ok, you can go to sleep now.

Talalay and Dunlop Latex

LatexTree

Latex can be found in many different products in the form of natural or synthetic.  The synthetic form of latex is derived from petroleum, while the natural form…you guessed it…comes from nature!  Many plants produce natural latex, but the Pará rubber tree produces the liquid latex used in the majority of commercial applications.

Talalay and Dunlop are the two methods used to make liquid latex into a core for a latex mattress.  So what’s the difference between the two processes?  It boils down the heating and cooling (no pun intended).  Talalay is a process of vacuum pressurization, flash freezing and heating followed by several washes.  With the Dunlop method, liquid latex is poured into molds, heated and washed, and does not have the flash freeze step that the Talalay goes through.  Both processes have been improved in recent years to yield a more consistent product.

latexmold

Another development in latex is the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS.  This standard establishes sustainable processing methods from organic raw materials and also addresses standards for the health, safety and welfare of workers during the manufacturing process.  This new organic certification is available only with Dunlop latex, and everyone here at OMI couldn’t be happier to have more assurance and another step in purity.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 669 other followers