Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bubble & Bee now Certified Organic!

We did it! Bubble & Bee is now Certified Organic!

It's taken us a while now, but we did it! What does it mean to be certified organic? 

Well, here are a few things that we do as a certified organic processing facility.
Extensive Paperwork Has to be Submitted Every Year
Keep a detailed paper trail

For all our products designated as "100% organic" "organic" or "made with organic", we keep a detailed paper trail of where each ingredient came from, and who certified it as organic. All of these ingredients have to be grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and processed without chemicals. For each batch we make, we write down the supplier of each ingredient, the invoice date, the invoice number, and the certifying agency. The batch sheets are then kept on file.

Have an organic pest control plan

This means we don't use synthetic pesticides on our facility and use organic methods of pest control, like regular sweeping and removal of debris in and around our facility, and the use of certain essential oils and herbs to repel insects.

Ensuring organic integrity

This requirement isn't hard for us, as most of our ingredients are certified organic. However, we have to make sure that every ingredient is marked organic or conventional. For instance, we use both organic and conventional orange essential oil. We use the organic in the lip balms and bath salts, and the conventional in the soaps and shower gels. We have a big orange label on the conventional that says "CONVENTIONAL: shower gels and soaps only!" That way, there's no chance that the conventional doesn't accidentally get in to something it's not supposed to. We store herbs and other bulk ingredients in air-tight containers so there is no co-mingling of organic and non-organic. Scoops and utensils are washed between uses so there is no possibility of cross contamination.

Labeling requirements.

Our products can now bear the USDA certified organic seal! We also must include our certifying agency, the Utah State Department of Agriculture on a specific portion of the label.

Cleaning logs.

Every time we vaccuum a floor, wash the mixer, or wipe down the shipping table we have to record it in the log. There, we state the date, the cleaning method used, any cleaning materials used, and who did the cleaning. Any surface that comes in to contact with an organic product has to be thoroughly rinsed so there is no trace of cleansing residue. We typically use organic castille soap, organic sunflower oil, or organic vinegar for cleaning so we're always clean and green!

Shipping logs.

Any time we ship out a product, we keep a log of where it's going and what batch it was from. That way, if someone came to us with an invoice number, we could tell you which batch it was from, where each organic ingredient was from, and who certified that ingredient.

Production map of every product we make.

For each certified organic product, we have to create a production map. This describes where the ingredients are stored, where in our facility it's made, how it's made, how it's packaged, and labeled from start to finish.

Product Profile Sheet

We submit a product profile sheet to the department of agriculture that details each product, it's composition, and its label.

It's a lot of work, but we're proud of the extra work we do to make sure that our products are some of the cleanest and greenest around!


Anonymous said...

Wow...that's awesome!! I knew you'd get USDA certified sooner or later. Are all your products going to bear the USDA seal? Also, on another note, how's the work on the makeup line coming along? I can't wait until you launch it...and your sunscreen, too!! Thank you for making such wonderful products!! :-)

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks! Still working on the makeup line. It's been difficult because most of the vegetable based colorant compounds are water soluble, so if you sweat, they have the potential to run. So, I'm trying to find some alternatives to the color compounds I've been working with.

As far as sunscreen goes, we have to put it through lots of testing; I'm hoping that we'll be able to launch it by spring.

Sweetmade Soap said...

Congratulations on your certification! How exciting! Wishing you a fun and prosperous year!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks! Same to you!

Unknown said...


Thank you so much for the information, it was very helpful! I also wanted to know, how did you get started? who did you call and what were the steps from there?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Mrs. Laborn: I don't know if you're referring to getting started as a business, or starting with organic certification, so I'll answer both...For starting a business, there are a number of things to do..registering with the state, registering your business name with the national trademark office, getting a city business license, getting a federal employer id number (EIN). Your state's Department of Commerce should give you all the steps necessary to run a business in your area.

Regarding organic certification, we called the Utah State Department of Agriculture. Some states' agricultural program is able to be an organic certifier....I'd start there because they're usually the most affordable. If your state doesn't, then call one of the independent agencies like Organic Certifiers, QAI, Oregon Tilth, etc.

Hope that helps!