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Critics Questioned Ingredients in Ava Anderson Products, Company Admits Faulty Labeling

Thursday, January 28, 2016

 

Founder Ava Anderson, pictured here when she started the company in 2010.

After mounting criticism by green bloggers regarding ingredients used in their products, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic announced Tuesday that suppliers were to blame for including ingredients in their products that they had "lobbied against."

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic had first revealed on Monday that the LLC was closing and the company was changing hands, but had cited "online harrassment" of founder Ava Anderson as the reason -- and had not mentioned the ingredient controversy. 

Green bogger Jessica Brandt who runs the website EcoFriendlyMamaUSA -- and works for another non-toxic company, Poofy Organics -- has written multiple entries regarding the Ava Anderson line and issues that she had with it, including putting them on her “so-so” list of products in 2015 before putting them on her “greenwashing” list earlier this month. 

"Them playing victim is just making me irate. A company making $50 million can't test their own products?  It's so ridiculous," said Brandt in an email to GoLocal on Tuesday.

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic had posted the following message on Tuesday on their site:

"We have recently learned that several of our suppliers, who professed to have our same mission of providing safe, organic and natural personal care products, have violated our contractual agreements, by including some ingredients, found on all store shelves, that we have passionately educated and even lobbied against, in several of our 80+ products.  We created this line to share an important health message and are devastated to have discovered this. We shared this information with all of our independent representatives and affected customers."

Soap Controversy, FDA Complaint

Brandt posted to her blog on January 23 what she said were the findings of a scientific analysis of Ava Anderson dish soap, conducted by Dr. Kevin Dunn at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, which she said showed that the soap contained 73% water -- and none of the organic plant-based oils that the label claimed. 

“I was unaware of Ava Anderson and her products until Jess Brandt asked me to investigate the ingredients label. I had never worked with Jess before,” Dunn told GoLocal. “My research area is in soap chemistry. I research questions and problems faced by people in the handcrafted soap industry. I also do consulting work when I have time and the project interests me.”

“I don't know how common product mislabeling is. Ironically commodity soap, detergent, and cosmetics companies have staff with expertise to do quality control and quality assurance tests,” said Dunn. “Small companies without that expertise rely on their suppliers to provide honest ingredients lists. The ingredients list in this case was implausible--no soaps or detergents were listed, only oils and water--and that is what sparked my interest.”

In 2011, an FDA complaint over Ava Anderson Non-Toxic's hand sanitizer was filed by Susan Sawhill Apito, which can be found here

Representatives from Ava Anderson did not respond to request for comment on Tuesday.

Sparring in Social Media

Initially, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic said it was the "online harrassment" that they received that played a role in their decision to change ownership over to a management team — before admitting the problems with the ingredients in their products. 

"We hope you will be able to understand that our daughter has been under attack, online and in person, and has been tethered to social media for years, attempting to protect the brand and the company she cares so much for, as well as for each of you. She (and our family and team) have always felt a tremendous responsibility to all of you and we have done our very best to fulfill that," Ava Anderson Non-Toxic had written on Monday.  "We simply cannot see any possible happiness or peace for her future or our family being treated this way.  We have tolerated it for years to build this company, but have lost the ability to battle and continue to sustain the barrage daily. We know your hearts and believe you would take this same action if your child or family were being treated this way and could no longer function."

In post Tuesday on her Facebook page, Brandt maintained that she has never attacked Anderson in her critiques of the company.

“For the record, I have never, ever attacked Ava Anderson, the woman, herself. You can read everything I've ever written, there's no mention of Ava, she's never fielded any of my questions,” said Brandt. “This was about fraudulent ingredients put in a bottle labeled as organic goods. There is no excuse. None. They're going to start over with a new brand in the future.”

Jill Negro, an Ava Anderson consultant, in an email to GoLocal on Tuesday said that Brandt’s characterizations were “twisted statements.”

“I wanted to caution about the statements made on that page. I've watched as several people pointed out inconsistencies with her arguments, only to have their posts deleted. She is friends with the owner of Poofy Organics, who is the one that's been harassing the Andersons since the beginning, live at speaking engagements and through social media,” said Negro. “The owner of that blog also sells Poofy. Please do not take her twisted statements as facts. It's so terrible what they have been doing to that family, and it's still not stopping. It's unfair and not right.“

Brandt took to Facebook on Tuesday to respond to criticisms about her connection to Poofy. 

“There is some confusion out there. I am not the owner of Poofy Organics. I am an independent guide for Poofy Organics, and I have been for 1.5 years, which is about 1.5 years after questioning Ava Anderson on their products -- and getting nowhere,” said Brandt.  "They need to stop playing the victim, it's so not cool"

 

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