European Sleep Design, a mattress store in Folsom-Sacramento is making claims that they sell “organic” mattresses on their website and Internet listings.
The Healthy Bed Store takes no pleasure in writing this article as we believe in healthy competition and a consumer’s right to choose the best mattress for them. But, when ANY business makes unsubstantiated claims about their organic products that also do not conform to the standards set by the USDA NOP program, we feel that this crosses the line of proper marketing, is deceptive to the consumer and needs to be made public.
The purpose of this article is meant to be informational only and is not intended to slander or attack European Sleep Design and its owners. It is about transparency and integrity in marketing organic products to consumers – the same standards of transparency The Healthy Bed Store demands from our Certified Organic mattress and bedding manufacturers.
As soon we have knowledge that European Sleep Design has removed all claims of selling organic mattresses and/or provides certifications that proves the materials used in their mattresses are indeed organic according to the NOP standards explained below, The Healthy Bed Store will immediately remove this post. Please note that European Sleep Works in Berkeley does not make any organic claims even though they are selling the same type of mattress.
The USDA’s National Organic Program is the authority on the use of the word “organic” and it is important for manufacturers, retailers and consumers to recognize that certification is required to make an organic claim and labeling requirements are strictly interpreted by NOP. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Green Guides” specifically addresses the application of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which protects against unfair methods of competition or deceptive acts affecting commerce.
Under these guidelines, to state that you are selling organic mattresses or mattresses made with an organic component (as European Sleep Design does with their organic cotton cover), you must have a marketing label that denotes finished textile products that have earned certification under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). GOTS ensures the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials including the chain of custody and traceability of the production of the materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling to provide credible assurance to the consumer.
Nowhere on European Sleep Design’s website or marketing materials have we found any GOTS certification of their “organic cotton” cover. Other certifications that can be used for textiles are Oregon Tilth and Textile Exchange (TE) – none of these certifications are found on their website.
European Sleep Design claims to use “100% Natural Latex”. Yet, they do not provide any details or proof that the processing of their latex allows it to remain “natural”. Control Union has a certification, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) that certifies latex in the same manner that is used for textiles. There is nothing on their website showing that the latex that is used by European Sleep Design has this certification.
In essence, under these NOP guidelines, manufacturers of most finished products, including mattresses, that do not earn GOTS certification for the entire product may not refer to the entire product as an “organic” product, but may reference the type(s) of organic fiber, together with the percentages of the specific organic fiber(s) that are contained in the finished product. GOTS certification can be used to certify a finished product as “certified organic” if 95% of the product’s ingredients (by weight) are certified organic and the manufacturer is in compliance with other GOTS requirements. European Sleep Design has not shown that their mattresses meet these requirements.
European Sleep Design does state that their mattresses are OEKO-Tex certified which is accurate. OEKO-Tex is an organization that sets globally uniform test criteria for safe use of chemicals in textiles, tests textiles during and after manufacturing processes, and certifies textiles as ecologically safe for humans. OEKO-Tex Standard 100 certification can be pursued for textiles and finished mattresses. European Sleep Design uses this certification to promote the purity of their products as safe and free of harmful chemicals. However, as stated above, OEKO-Tex does not certify that the product is chemical-free, just that the product is safe for humans but can still have chemicals in the materials.
In addition, OEKO-Tex certification has nothing to do with any organic certification process that certifies a product to be organic. To be organic, a product must be totally chemical-free – OEKO-Tex certification does allow chemicals to be used in products.
All of the OrganicPedic by OMI and Naturepedic organic mattresses sold at The Healthy Bed Store are Certified Organic by GOTS and the Dunlop latex used in these mattresses are GOLS certified as well. Our Certified Organic Bedding from Sleep & Beyond and Gotcha Covered are also GOTS certified. Our Suite Sleep products are in the process of getting GOTS certification.
If European Sleep Design wants to be credible to consumers and be able to claim their mattresses are “organic”, we ask that they get the same certifications as the companies mentioned above or publish their existing material certifications for their mattress components. Again, this is about transparency and integrity, nothing more. We want fair and honest competition, not just with our businesses but for the whole organic mattress and bedding industry and for the consumers that are shopping for these products.
For more information on the certification process, visit certification.controlunion.com or http://www.global-standard.org/
For general information to learn more about “greenwashing” claims of organic products: http://www.omimattress.com/greenwashing.php