Ava Anderson Was Hit By USDA for False Organic Claims - Is New Company Mislabeling?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


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In December, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited Ava Anderson for making false claims about its products being organic -- and now its new company is under fire for labeling and ingredient issues less than two months after announcing it was relaunching under a new name.

Matthew Michael, Director of Compliance and Enforcement Division of the USDA’s National Organic Program, in a letter to one of the complainants -- and circulated widely -- wrote, “Your complaint alleged that AA (Ava Anderson) marketed its Essential Oil product as organic, in violation of the USDA organic regulations. Our investigation confirmed your allegation. In response, the AA modified its Essential Oil labels and other market information to comply with the law.”

The Michael letter was sent on December 11, 2015, referencing the Ava Anderson products. Less than six weeks later, the company was rebranding and the first story as to why its founder, Ava Anderson, was leaving was tied to claims of "cyber-bullying."

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As GoLocal reported in late January:

Ava Anderson, the Barrington teen who started a non-toxic cosmetics company, will be stepping down from the company she started five years ago, according to a statement on their website

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

In February, the company was renamed Pure Haven Essentials and according to filings with the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s Office, the newly named company’s corporate address in 170 Adams Point Road, Barrington.  That address is the Anderson family’s waterfront estate in Barrington.

The New Company - Are They Using Improperly Labeled Products?

A website dedicated to home businesses reported in February that Rhode Island businessman Bob Manny was taking over the newly named Ava Anderson company. Manny is serving as Chief Operating Officer.

Since the new company was launched, questions have arisen about product ingredients -- and recalls. 

In a post entitled, "Pure Haven Essentials Ignores USDA Warning Letter," blogger Susan Sawhill Apito questioned what the new Pure Haven company has done to rectify past issues, following a letter showing the USDA deeming Ava Anderson was in violation of calling its essential oils "organic." Apito is an independent consultant with the certified organic cosmetics line NYR Organic.

"These [Pure Haven] oils need to be tested by an expert to see what is really in the bottle and potential customers should ask them for the name of the Certifying Agent who certified these ingredients “as” organic…and while they’re at it – ask for the name of the lab where they got their oils tested," wrote Apito.

Apito posted on March 12 that Pure Haven had pulled its bug spray over an EPA compliance issue; on March 15, an internal email circulated that Pure Haven had to redact a previous label on a face mask product due to erroneous labeling

Emails and calls to Pure Haven, its social media director and COO were not returned on Tuesday. 

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Confusion as to Why the Company Has Been Reorganized

In February, the Anderson family had cited bullying as one of the reasons for pulling out of the company, when the family released a statement (see below) stating that the "management team" would be taking over. 

GoLocal recognized Anderson as a "Top Ten in 2010" for her mission to "pull back the curtain on the toxic ingredients found in millions of makeup, personal care and skincare products." In their statement, the family wrote:

The Anderson Family has made the difficult decision to end their 6-year journey by closing what you have come to know as Ava Anderson LLC. 

However, the Management Team at our RI-based home office will pick up the torch and carry it forward. We are diligently working to continue to offer the great products you have experienced over the past 6 years under a new brand. It is our intention to transfer all the great aspects of the company you currently know.

We appreciate your commitment and patience as we work through this transition.

Editor's Note: A prior version stated that Apito worked for NYR Organic; it has been corrected to reflect she is an independent consultant for the product line. 


Related Slideshow: 25 Ways to Support Small Businesses in RI

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Shop for a Difficult Buy

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Even More Lunch!

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Out With the Old

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Solve a Problem

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Don't Forget Fido

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Enjoy Local Atmosphere


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Grab A Late Night Snack

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Pick up New Music

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