Ava Anderson Was Hit By USDA for False Organic Claims - Is New Company Mislabeling?
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
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."
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.
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
Grab a Snack
8 Bowen’s Wharf, Newport
Signature almond butter toffee hand-crafted in small batches with the best ingredients. Almonds, sweet cream butter, pure sugar, salt and dark chocolate are skillfully piloted through heat and cold to create a classic treat you can’t resist.
Shop for Dad
39 Warren Ave, East Providence, RI
Not sure what to get dad for the holidays?
Go out together and be entertained at East Providence’s Comedy Connection where local and international acts like Norm MacDonald, DL Hughey, and Carlos Mencia are currently set to perform!
Shop for Mom
154 Mill Street, Newport
Inspired by music, art and the laid-back vibes of the West Coast, this women's wear boutique offers a merchandise assortment consisting of statement pieces from contemporary brands not typically found in local shops.
Shop for Someone Special
180 Pleasant View Ave, Smithfield, RI
Get that special person in your life a gift to remember this holiday.
AC Jewelers can create custom wedding bands, engagement rings and even has a selection of pre-owned Rolex’s and other fine jewelry to suit any taste.
Photo: AC Jewelers
Shop for a Difficult Buy
14 Imperial Place, Providence, RI
Do you have someone on your list that is very hard to buy a gift for?
Try giving them a different type of relaxing experience with Emerging Energy Acupuncture they offer acupuncture, massage, and herbology services to sooth the body and the mind.
Take a Break
184 County Rd, Barrington
Take a break from your Christmas list and head over to Barrington Books.
They have a wide selection of art, philosophy, fiction, and even a graphic novel section to spark your curiosity.
Grab Some Lunch
1357 Hartford Ave, Johnston, RI
In a rush? Luigi’s Restaurant & Gourmet Express offers authentic Italian Cuisine that is already prepared and ready to eat at your request!
Sit in or take your meal on the go.
Photo: Luigi's Restaurant and Gourmet Express
Even More Lunch!
156 County Rd, Barrington, RI
If you’ve got a hearty appetite and love Thai food try Tong D Restaurant for lunch during your shopping excursions.
Tong D has an amazing selection of spicy curry, savory rice, and delicious noodle dishes and even offers vegan selections.
Do Something Creative
99 Spring Street, Newport
A community space, bringing together artists and creatives while providing a storefront location to display and sell local artwork and apparel.
Participate in and Event
801 Greenwich Ave, Warwick
Small Business Saturday Shop RI at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event will feature over 100 Rhode Island Small Businesses and vendors including entrepreneurs, artists, Farm Fresh RI, Social Venture Enterprises, veterans, and minority-owned businesses.
Get Some Retail Therapy
6 West Marlborough Street, Newport
Offers the latest fashion trends for men and women at an affordable price.
The flagship store is located in Narragansett.
Get Ready for a Night Out
9 Pier Market Pl, Narragansett, RI
Spa Thayer will have a special on gift certificates: buy one gift certificate and get one 50% off any combination of services.
Don’t forget to book yourself and appointment this Saturday to freshen up after a long holiday weekend, and enjoy 10% off in spa credit.
Grab Yourself a Treat
21 Charles St., Wakefield, RI
Get some retail therapy at Sweenor’s Chocolates and take home a treat for yourself, and your loved ones - but mostly yourself.
Choose from their assorted boxed chocolates, fudges, and sugar-free candies.
Photo: Sweenor's Chocolates
Improve Your Space
444 Boyds Ln., Portsmouth, RI
Grab some fresh blooms this holiday from Mello’s Farm and Flowers Center.
The family owned and operated business also offers poinsettias, trees, and wreaths to decorate your home with this holiday.
Photo: Mello's Farm and Flowers Center
Out With the Old
32 Gooding Avenue, Bristol, RI
Replace some gently used items around your home and get money back to replace them at Second Helpings.
The consignment shop also has plenty of furniture and stylish home goods to revitalize your space.
Photo: Second Helpings
328 Atwood Ave - Cranston RI
Second Time Around Sports has plenty of new and gently used sports gear for the athlete in your family.
They also offer special deals on ski and snowboard goods in store - perfect for winter sports during their race to black Friday event which extends all weekend.
Solve a Problem
Bad Dog Tools
24 Broadcommon Rd., Bristol, RI
Bad Dog Tools’ staff can help you find the right tools for the job.
Replace your old drill bits, saw mills and more so you can get back to work on your home improvement project.
Don't Forget Fido
Pet Foods Plus
30 Gooding Ave., Bristol, RI
Pet Foods Plus has a wealth of accessories and new foods and treats to keep your pets happy this winter.
Don’t forget your best friend while out on your holiday shopping spree!
Grab a Drink
95 Eddy St, Providence, RI
The Eddy is one of the coolest places to grab a cocktail before you make your rounds for the weekend.
Enjoy a signature creation like their “Orange Julius Caesar”, “Solera Flare” or “Up All Night…” cocktails made fresh and don’t forget to grab a bar snack!
Photo: The Eddy
Enjoy Local Atmosphere
276 Westminster St., Providence, RI
Aurora features live music, great drinks, and an even better atmosphere. A great way to spend Small Business Saturday.
Enjoy a Show
260 Thayer St, Providence, RI
The Avon Cinema will be playing new independent and foreign films in an intimate atmosphere.
Find out what’s playing soon and don’t forget your popcorn!
Buy Cool Memorabilia
537 Pontiac Ave, Cranston
Comics, records, toys, video games and more, The Time Capsule in Cranston is a great place for holiday shopping during Small Business Saturday.
The Time Capsule opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
60 Dorrance St, Providence, RI
The Dorrance has an ever-changing cocktail menu and is just a stone’s throw away from other bars like G Pub, Circe, and Congress.
The Dorrance is the perfect spot to start the night right and grab some seriously tasty bar food like their Rhody Calamari, and Duck Confit and Pumpkin.
Photo: The Dorrance
Grab A Late Night Snack
121 Washington St., Providence, RI
Grab some dessert after a long day of shopping and a night of festivities at Local 121.
Choose from their créme brûlée or homemade ice cream and sorbet collections.
Photo: Local 121
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