- We consider exposing deceptive practices as our social and ethical responsibility.
- Outside of the food industry, the term "organic" is not regulated.
- Discovery - companies from China and their resellers are making false "organic" and "natural" claims
- Amazon deleted my exposing reviews and does not seem to be policing use of the term "organic" or "Natural"
- The importance of your nut milk bag being "100% natural.
- How to test if your nut milk bag if it is "100% natural"
- How to report, prevent and protect yourself from "organic" and "natural" deception
BUYER BEWARE: Several other nut milk bag producers/seller claim that their bags are 100% natural or organic, BUT we have found that their bags are in fact sewn with polyester threads!
Our video gives FULL details along with actual Textile Burn Test of threads:
FAKE Organic Nut Milk Bags (not even 100% natural) on Amazon. Burn Test (feat. Hemp Nut Milk Bags)
WHY AM I DRIVEN TO WRITE THIS
To protect the public from being deceived, and from buying inferior products due to deceptive information.
For many reasons I do not like exposing companies, but at the same time I also believe it is not ethical to be silent when I have discovered deception! We at EcoPeaceful prefer to focus on educating and empowering customers, and when we discover deception we cannot remain silent.
This time the deception is more personal - We have now discovered that nut milk bag deception from competitors has decreased our sales and thus threatens our business.
We are currently the only business which manufactures truly 100% certified organic fiber nut milk bags from USA-grown cotton and 100% natural hemp nut milk bag sewn with 100% linen (flax) threads, which is much stronger than cotton), and also naturally antibacterial. Most nut milk bags are sewn using industrial machines, which cannot sew natural threads (constantly breaks thread), so we have had to modify our sewing machines to be able to sew with 100% natural and organic threads. So far no one has been able to replicate what we make and sell, especially to sew hemp bags with 100% linen threads, but many of our competitors are choosing the easy and deceiving way to compete with us by making false claims about their nut milk bag materials. They are making false "organic" claims, which deceives the public and it has affected our business. As you know it is difficult to compete with liars and deceivers, especially when most people look for and buy the least expensive product, especially if it appears that the features they want are the same, as in claims of "organic" and "certified organic."
Here are some of the false organic claims, of our competitors and manufacturer:
1) CLAIM: Hemp fabric is "certified by GOTS*" - REALITY: No certification to back up this claim, but instead they tried to pass off certificates for other fabrics!
2) CLAIM: Bags are "sewn with organic cotton threads" - REALITY: They are sewn with cotton/polyester mix threads, which cannot be "organic" or even considered "natural"
3) CLAIM: "Linen drawstring is certified organic" - REALITY: No certification to back up this claim
*GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard
Next, I will explain how I squeezed the truth out of one of these Chinese nut milk bag manufacturers, who is supplying to most of the Amazon nut milk bag sellers (their products can be under a different brand name and/or from different sellers since Chinese companies offer private labeling of their products and ship directly to Amazon).
Note: Based on our research and experience (several emails to Amazon), Amazon is not currently policing for any "organic" textile/fabric claims. It seems that any seller can claim "organic" on whatever they want and Amazon is not policing, challenging or verifying these claims.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT "ORGANIC" in the USA and CHINA
FACT: In the USA, there is NO government agency that regulates the term "organic,"
outside of food products and food-growing practices industries.
This means that:
- Anyone can say anything* they sell is organic - Any manufacturer or seller can use the term "organic" with their non-food products, even if it is grown or made with: toxic chemicals, biosolids (a marketing rename of Treated Toxic Sewage Sludge), hormones, GMO's, heavy metals, radiation... *Outside of the food growing and food production industries.
- Byproducts from plants or animals - Textiles, gardening, cleaning products, etc., can be labeled as "organic" based simply on the fact that it originally came from plants, animal... or for any reason they want!
- No legal repercussions - There are no legal repercussions, in the USA, for manufacturers or sellers, who deceive the public with their use of the term "organic".
I think it is both honest and ethical that the sellers claiming that their products are "certified organic," should be able to present documents from independent organizations to back up their claim. Remember that the burden-of-proof (requirement to provide evidence) for THEIR claim is their responsibility NOT yours. We post our independent organic certifications where we sell our products.
On Amazon.com, most sellers are simply reselling products made in China, even if they do not tell the customers. The Chinese factories offer private labeling (using a label of the seller rather than the manufacturer), and the seller can have the bags shipped directly to Amazon, and then Amazon ships (know as FBA - Fulfilled by Amazon) to the customer. So, the seller never even has to see the bags that they sell !!!
Based on my experience, communicating with Asian (mostly Chinese) manufacturers/sellers, they think the term "organic" means that it is not synthetic (petrochemical) material, and they do not understand that it should mean that it has not been grown: organically, GMO-free, without sewage sludge (BioSolids), synthetic pesticides/fertilizers, etc.
YES, many Asian companies label their non-organic cotton products as organic, which is most likely GMO cotton, which is claimed by many industry experts to be the "dirtiest" crop on Earth - listed by Organic Authority as the "World's "Dirtiest" Crop", due to the amounts of chemicals/pesticides used).
I contacted several companies listed on Alibaba.com (a site for product manufacturers who distribute internationally) who claimed that they manufacture "organic" cheesecloth, but after I asked them to provide organic certification, they simply sent me some other certificates, that are irrelevant to organic growing and manufacturing. None of the Chinese manufacturers who claimed that their cheesecloth was "organic cotton" actually had an organic certificate! Obviously, the term "organic" sells better in the USA, especially to customers who are misinformed on the facts explained above, and I am guessing that most of the sellers on Amazon.com are just repeating what the manufacturers told them, without verifying and/or challenging their claims.
It's in the re-sellers' financial interest to not require organic verifications and not to verify if theyare sent fake organic fabric certificates.
BUYER BEWARE - Many companies profits are tied to maintaining public ignorance!
"ORGANIC" HEMP NUT MILK BAGS ON AMAZON.com - NOT ORGANIC OR EVEN FULLY NATURAL
I will now explain how and where I found the "organic" hemp nut milk bags that turned out to not be organic and not even fully natural.
I grew up mostly in Russia and have learned this Russian proverb to be very important,
Доверяй но Проверяй - Trust, but verify!
It means for me (as I am Russian) and a company owner - Only trust after first verifying and continue to verify. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust_but_verify - Which explains why I do not just assume that what people say is actually the truth!
While I was searching for hemp fabric on Alibaba.com, I was looking for organic hemp or Hemp fabric made/grown in Europe (Romania), since I had several requests for nut milk bags made of USA hemp, but it is still illegal to grow industrial hemp crops in most US States, which is why (contrary to false claims) there is no availability of USA grown hemp fabric. See our Hemp Q&A here: Will you be switching to made in the USA hemp?
The next best available option is possibly Romanian hemp fabric, according to Romanian hemp fabric manufacturers, "Romania has the [highest percentage] of European Union with lands that were not affected by the industrialization of the agriculture by using pesticides and other harmful elements." While I was searching on Alibaba.com I came across hemp nut milk bags, made by Rizhao Bosi Mesh Products, Co., Ltd. (Rizhao Bosi Mesh), and were claimed to be GOTS certified organic. I found it surprising that they claimed that all their other materials were are also certified organic (cotton stitches and linen drawstring).
But my BS radar quickly went OFF... I found it very suspicious that this small company, that also manufactures/sews nylon paint strainers (aka nut milk bag), is making 'natural' hemp nut milk bags made from materials that all are GOTS certified.
- Hemp fabric availability - I was told that there are very limited quantities and it is rarely available,
- Almost impossible to sew with 100% cotton threads - most industrial sewing machines are not able to sew with cotton threads since cotton thread breaks very easily under the high-speed jerking motion of the industrial sewing/overlock machines.
When I contacted, Rizhao Bosi Mesh Products, Co., Ltd. (Rizhao Bosi Mesh), I presented myself as a potential buyer, and asked the company if they are GOTS certified and if all the materials of nut milk bags are organic, and they replied:
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.:"To be honest, our factory isn't GOTS certified but our materials are all GOTS certified."
Since they are not GOTS certified, which requires higher standards, then it means that they are possibly a sweatshop without any Ecological or Social Responsibility. Based on a claim of "all their materials were all GOTS certified," which is very difficult to find and sew, it sounded too me as too good to be true.
So, I asked them to double check if ALL their materials (fabric, sewing threads and drawstring) were GOTS certified, and after they double checked they replied:
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.: "Yes, all materials (including fabric, drawstring and threads) are GOTS [certified]. Please find the certifications (GOTS & OE) in attachments."
this is how I discovered that they do not have any organic certification for their hemp fabric, sewing threads and for the drawstring...
and how I squeezed out the truth?
Her attached "GOTS certificate" documents were actually just a list of fabrics made by the exact same company where I bought my hemp fabric!
When I bought my fabric they had no certified organic hemp
I also knew that they do not produce/sell any organic sewing threads!
Me (EcoPeaceful): 1) The GOTS certificate that you provided is for the fabric, not for the sewing threads (stitches). When I had previously contacted Shanxi Greenland Textile, they said that they do not manufacture sewing threads. I imported fabric from them, but they did not sell sewing threads.
2) What is the brand/manufacture of the cotton sewing threads you use to sew hemp bags? I need to know if they are organic or not, to be able to accurately describe the material content. I do not want to misinform customers.
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.: "Yes, you're right. Shanxi Greenland Textile just supplies the fabric. But you maybe know that they also purchase the materials for the fabric from another organic farm. And we bought the same materials to customized the drawstring and sewing threads. Note: The sewing threadsneeds strong enough for using, and we mix other materials to enhance their resilience, so the stitching is not 100% organic material. As we customized the drawstring and sewing threads by ourselves, so there are no brands for them, hope you can understand. If you don't want to misinform customers, you could not describe the drawstring and sewing threads of organic materials as we have no certifications for them although they are true made."
I wonder what is "true made" means? Also, it is interesting how she stated "If you don't want to misinform customers" like there is an option (or maybe it is called a business opportunity) to misinform customers? I am guessing for many amazon.com sellers it is a profitable option. :-)
I asked her again to provide all certificates since I got confused when she said "organic." Does she mean it came from a plant or that is certified organic?
Me (EcoPeaceful): 1) You said "all materials (including fabric, drawstring and threads) are GOTS certified." Can you please provide an organic certificate from other organic farm/manufacture for the cotton threads/stitches? 2) "the stitching is not 100% organic material." Can you please tell all the materials that are in the thread/stitches? Does it contain synthetic (nylon, polyester..) or something else?"
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.:"Answer 1. I'm sorry for misinforming you. there are no GOTS certifications for the sew threads, but it did use the same materials with the fabric.
Answer 2. Yes, the materials of sew threadsis mix of cotton and polyester. As the polyester can make the threads strong enough for sewing."
Me (EcoPeaceful): "Thank you for the honesty*. I think, your company should update your description, so your customers do not get misled, it saves you time and your clients time. Can you source 100% organic cotton threads?"
*I really was thinking... WOW! That is some serious BS (Buying/Selling LOL) deception.
Me (EcoPeaceful): If I ship you 100% organic cotton threads will you be able to use my threads to sew bags?"
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.:"Thanks for your suggestions. Yes, we should update our description. For the 100% cotton threads, we already tried it, but the result showed that it's not so strong enough and tend to break up. So we mixed the cotton and polyester. But if your 100% cotton threads are strong enough, we can use your threads to sew bags. Please firstly confirm the threads strong enough. Rough Standard of Judgment: you can't break up the thread by your hands when pulling."
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.:"To be honest, we tested serval [sic - several] kinds of cotton threads before. But no one was workable. It's definitely not strong enough if it's easily break up by hand. You know that the strength of sewing machine will be bigger than hand"
CONCLUSION: On my continued requests to provide a certificate for the drawstring it turned out that the linen drawstring was not certified organic!
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.:"Yes, the drawstring is 100% organic linen, but there is not have the GOTS certification for it yet."
Their hemp fabric, also not certified organic!!!
I found this to be shocking responses to my request that they change their description of their hemp & cotton bags and correctly inform buyers that stitches are not natural:
Me (EcoPeaceful): (2015-12-24): 1) When will you be changing the description of your hemp and organic cotton and contacting your customers to inform them that stitches are not organic and/or natural, but it is cotton/polyester mix?
Me (EcoPeaceful):: 2) Is the hemp fabric certified organic? When I last bought fabric from Shanxi Greenland Textile, they told me that they had a limited quantity of certificated hemp fabric.
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.: "1. There are no '100%' in the description for our materials. But as you said that we still need to pay moreattention on that thing. Thanks for your reminding. 2. Yes, the certifications I sent you are just for the hemp&cotton fabric."
Me (EcoPeaceful):: 2): Do you have an organic GOTS certificate for the hemp fabric? I contacted Shanxi Greenland Textile Co., Ltd, Carol Wu told me: "Our hemp fabric which we produce now has no certificate, if you need a certificate, we have to buy organic hemp material first. Can you please recheck if you bought organic certified material."
Rizhao Bosi Mesh - Rep.: "I rechecked with Shanxi Greenland Textile Co., Ltd, the hemp material is indeed organic, I am sure that Shanxi company has already told you that the hemp is organic, but the certification supplied is not for this material."
NOTE: Ignorant or pretending to be ignorant? Did you read how she thinks that organic mean everything that comes from plants, including cotton, linen, hemp?
I did not take any action towards this deception for more than 4 months, since I was hoping that they would correct their description and contact their USA Amazon.com sellers and be honest about their materials, but I see that nothing has changed and there are now more new sellers falsely claiming that their bags are "100% Organic."
WHAT'S BAD ABOUT polyester or polyester/cotton mix thread?
If you bought a 'natural' (hemp or organic cotton) nut milk bag I am guessing that your intention was to avoid chemicals related to plastic avoid digesting any synthetic fiber.
A) Fraying & breaking apart - Polyester threads fray (degrade and fall apart) with each use and therefore can get into your food.
B) Releases chemicals - Natural fiber nut milk bags are required to be sanitized from time to time by boiling, or soaking in vinegar, and after each use if you use it for sprouting or keep it moist for a few days. Synthetic/plastic releases chemicals when heated, or when soaked in an acid (vinegar) or fat (fatty-acids in nut milk) and when detergent is applied by washing it. Our perspective is that it is irrational to use a natural fabric nut milk bag sewn with polyester threads - or if it has other synthetic parts (elastic band, tags, etc.).C) "World's "Dirtiest" Crop" - Non-organic/Conventional cotton is listed by Organic Authority as the "World's "Dirtiest" Crop" and most is GMO cotton, which can NOT be Certified as "Organic!"
1. "most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet"
2. ~94% in USA
3. Transgenic (genes added from another species)
If you are already avoiding GMO food, then you may also consider avoiding GMO cotton textile as well, since the same cotton plant grown for fiber and oil (pressed from cotton seeds). Consider also that if are not eating the GMO oil your are helping support someone else eating it. GMO cotton oil is often in kids' school lunches, hospitals, military... I am not saying you should buy only organic cotton textile, I am suggesting to not to buy new non-organic cotton. Thrift stores are filled with clothing, that if not sold, end up being thrown 'away' to make the toxic landfill even more toxic!
WHY AMAZON DELETED MY REVIEWS THAT EXPOSED FALSE ORGANIC CLAIMS
After I found out that Amazon.com sellers were selling counterfeit organic nut milk bags, I contacted Amazon Customer Seller Support and I asked if I am allowed to leave a review on my competitors' products. Apparently, I received either incorrect of inconsistent information: "Please note that you can always go ahead and leave a review or contact the other customer warning him of the false claim. However, if you want, you can also report a violation against the other seller in order to permanently stop him from continuing this." I did leave and honest (based on objective facts, not my subjective opinion) reviews to several false claim hemp nut milk bags sellers, but Amazon deleted my reviews after sellers complained. I searched online and I found out that it is actually common that Amazon deletes negative reviews. Hmmm... wonder why? My guess is that negative reviews affect Amazon's sales, so in some cases eliminating the truth, could have buyers being deceived.
Also, Amazon has this policy, "You may not write reviews for products or services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews for products or services that you or your competitors sell." So for me to be able to leave a factual low rating review to my competitors, I would need to stop selling similar products on Amazon.com.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE BUYING A "NATURAL" OR "ORGANIC" NUT MILK BAGS
If you do not want to consume polyester or GMO fiber with your home-made nut milk:1) Ask the seller(s) to provide any organic certificates from
1) Ask the seller(s) to provide any organic certificates from an independent organization - GOTS being the largest certifier - for ALL materials (fabric, sewing threads, drawstring or whatever else is sewn to the bag). If they do not have certificates to support their organic claims or if they do not make organic claims, but instead incorrectly make "natural" claims, then I also suggest that you,
2) Ask if they can provide their fabric, thread and drawstring suppliers.
As a nut milk bag manufacturer, I can say that this is not some kind of trade secret. We are transparent on our materials, and supplies, and we can provide certificates for our organic claims.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT NATURAL/ORGANIC NUT MILK BAG
1) Look closely at the sewing threads:
A. Polyester or nylon usually has a shinier appearance than 100% natural threads; and
B. Our Chinese competitors sew their bags with cotton/polyester mix, so it looks like cotton, but here is how you can test it.
2) Pull out sewing thread (stitching) from the bag. You can almost always find an untrimmed stitch that is not required to stay on the bag. Just make sure it is a sewing thread, and not part of the fabric. Test it with a flame to see if it is natural or synthetic. Here is a short VIDEO - textile fiber burning test
|If the flame test indicated that it is not natural then I would definitely ask for my money back and report them (see links in the section below). My experience has been that if a company sells you a fake product they will refund no matter how long ago you bought it.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS FROM DECEPTION?
If a company uses the GOTS logo in the product sales listing or product description, or if they are claiming that their product is GOTS certified, they should have a license number below the GOTS logo (on the product label). You can easily verify it in the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) public database using that license number or you can search by a product name. Some sellers might claim that their products are made from GOTS certified fabric so simply ask for evidence that they provide the certificate.
There are currently about 5 or 6 hemp fabric nut milk bag sellers on
Amazon.com claiming that their bags are "GOTS certified."
According to the GOTS public database, there are not any certified
hemp nut milk bags or even hemp fabric that is GOTS certified.
Keep in mind that GOTS allows manufacturers to sew products with polyester threads and many sellers (actually resellers) have no idea that about this and falsely label their product(s) as: "Made with 100% organic..." yet they are only referring to the fabric. Most people and sellers automatically assume that all materials of the product are 100% organic. I actually started my business because when I bought my first GOTS certified 100% organic cotton produce bags, I discovered that they were not 100% organic since it had a shiny (an obvious indication of synthetic material) synthetic tag. I wondered how they can label it as 100% organic with a plastic tag. I felt so disappointed that I contacted the seller and asked about other materials used in the bag (e.g. drawstring, sewing threads). Luckily for me the seller was honest and knowledgeable and told me that it had been sewn with polyester threads and that the drawstring was not organic. He also told me that a large percentage of Indian and Chinese organic textile products are counterfeit. This is just one reason that EcoPeaceful's first priority is to outsourceUSA grown organic fabric.
HOW TO REPORT TO GOTS
1) Contact the seller and ask to provide the license number of the product of their claimed GOTS certification.
2) If they do not provide any certification for their GOTS claims, then report them to GOTS.
HOW TO REPORT TO AMAZON
1) Report to Amazon Reports. NOTE: Amazon does not currently police any "organic" claims, but if they receive enough complaints they will be forced to take action!
2) Leave a review if you believe (or have evidence) that you bought a "100% natural" and/or "100% organic" product that you believe it to be falsely labeled/marketed. This is an effective way to warn other potential buyers. NOTE: You can use our images from this article to attach to your Amazon review.
|Result from our "organic" education!
3) Share this article and images
CAN I REPORT TO A USA GOVERNMENT AGENCY?
We have contacted all relevant US agencies and there currently is ZERO US government agency actively monitoring the use of the term "organic" (textile and fabric) outside the food growing business. The FTC is charged with policing the term "organic" but our investigations and experiences indicate that the US FTC (Federal Trade Commision) is WAY behind in cracking down on: fake organic textiles, fake organic fabric and fake organic products, claims!
According to FTC guidelines, fake organic claims is considered AntiTrust violation - "Antitrust laws - also referred to as "competition laws" - are statutes developed by the U.S. Government to protect consumers from predatory business practices by ensuring that fair competition exists in an open-market economy." http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/09/antitrust-law.asp
As a consumer (even if you have not bought a product) you can REPORT these types of violations to the FTC here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
Please see our other article - WARNING! Products Labeled "Organic", with GMOs, SEWAGE Sludge, TOXINS... - about how gardeners are also being scammed by businesses who use the term "organic" on their gardening amendment products and product names, but the ingredients are usually far from organic!
Want truly all natural or all organic nut milk bag?
All EcoPeaceful Brand nut milk bags are 100% synthetic-free.
We use 100% organic cotton threads for our organic cotton nut milk bags and
100% linen threads for hemp nut milk bags.
Our EcoPeaceful Shop page http://ecopeaceful.com/products/eco-peaceful-shop/hemp-nut-milk-sprouting-bag
15% off Coupon code: 15eco
Our EcoPeaceful shop on Amazon http://amzn.to/1ZSuuBO