November 19, 2009

One More Time: There Are No FDA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, Part I

I thought we had cleared up this misconception years ago, however, it seems there are a number of essential oil purveyors claiming to carry essential oils  that are specifically certified as therapeutic grade by the FDA and show this seal below as proof.  Don’t be fooled.  They are not telling the truth.  In reverse order, this is one path to their deception.

 imageThis last trademark has been registered (as a word mark) by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 4, 2009, published for opposition on July 1, 2009 and official registration granted on October 6, 2009.  This registration has the disclaimer, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘certified pure therapeutic grade’ apart from the mark as shown.

A third trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 4, 2009, published for opposition on July 14, 2009 and official registration granted on September 29, 2009. This registration also has the disclaimer, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘certified pure therapeutic grade’ apart from the mark as shown”. There is a long list of products shown to be associated with this word mark.

A second trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 31, 2008, published for opposition on June 10, 2008 and official registration granted on May 9, 2009.

image A first trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 1145 South 800 East, Ste. 134,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 31, 2008, published for opposition on June 10, 2008 and official registration granted on May 9, 2009. Under the trademark registration, they show application to the following products: Essential oils; Essential oils for household use; Essential oils for personal use; Lavender oil; Massage oil; Massage oils; Natural essential oils; Aromatherapy oils; Bath oils; Body oils; Cosmetic oils; Cosmetic oils for the epidermis; Essential oils for flavoring beverages; Essential oils for food flavorings; Essential oils for use in manufacturing of gelcaps and other dietary supplements; Essential oils for use in the manufacture of scented products; Oils for cleaning purposes; Oils for toiletry purposes; Skin and body topical lotions, creams and oils for cosmetic use; Food flavorings prepared from essential oils; Oils for perfumes and scents; Peppermint oil; Perfume oils; Tanning oils.

DoTERRA, LLC is yet another multi-level marketing natural products company based in Utah who has applied through the U.S. Patent Office to “own” (exclusive use) a registered word mark.  This registered word mark has not been provided to them by the FDA as they claim and is meaningless in proving that an outside certifying body has declared or designated that DoTERRA’s essential oils are certified pure therapeutic grade.  DoTERRA, LLC owns the right to exclusive use of the mark (however not the exclusive right to the actual words “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” which is revealing)  This seal or word mark is nothing more than a commercial trademark that they have registered and paid a fee for.  However, DoTERRA is purposefully misinforming potential customers and down liners by email by claiming FDA approval and that the FDA has provided them with the label that they, themselves registered and own.  The FDA does NOT certify the quality of essential oils by therapeutic grade and they do not provide a certifying label as claimed.  Following is an email from DoTERRA sent to a potential customer:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: dōTERRA Member Service <>
Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 5:01 PM
To: Recipient Name and Email Removed for Privacy

Dear Recipient Name Removed for Privacy,

We apologize if one of our consultants has mislead you in anyway (sic).  All of our oils are FDA approved as being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). DoTERRA's, CPTG essential oils are 100% pure natural aromatic compounds carefully extracted from plants.  They do not contain fillers or artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities and are free of contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues.  All of our products are taken through a series of tests including  AFNOR and ISO standards for purity, and all of our manufactures must maintain a GMP certification.  Therefore, we are passing government regulations.  The FDA has provided us with the label of CPTG. We hope we have resolved your concern.

Member Services
doTERRA International, LLC
370 West Center Street
Orem, Ut 84057

Clearly this company is misleading people by claiming that they have a designation and approval provided to them by the FDA that in my expert opinion simply does not exist.  Stay tuned for part II of this series which will focus on FDA regulations that actually apply to essential oils and the part III will provide you with questions to ask a supplier that will ascertain their knowledge of essential oils and expertise in the industry.  

We at Samara Botane and many others in the essential oil trade have are dismayed about the misrepresentation of facts surrounding essential oils that occurs here in the United States, especially within the multi-level marketing industry.  We encourage people to diligently research any essential oil company before choosing them as a supplier.

Marcia Elston
Samara Botane/Nature Intelligence 

Please feel free to repost this message in its entirety, unedited, on your blog as well as social media outlets and newsgroups. 

Posted by Blogmistress on November 19, 2009 in Certification, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Regulatory Issues, Standards | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 01, 2008

Is This The End of The Indie Beauty Products Boom as We Know It?

handmade_toiletries The past decade has seen an explosion of small, independent aromatics products companies emerge from the kitchens and basements of America.  From aromatherapy wellness products creators, indie natural perfumers,  sultry incense  formulators,  handmade soap makers and makers of bath products galore - creative entrepreneurs have conjured up myriad offerings from bath fizzies to sugar scrubs to pampering spa products. 

Then, along came the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008, announced last month, proposing to give the FDA authority to affect new regulations that could stop the growth of this creative movement dead in its tracks.  For some, it could be the end.  Under the new rules proposed, The FDA could mandate an annual registration fee of no less than $2,000 (possibly more) per manufacturing facility.  This could put some out of business.    

The Personal Care Products Council (formerly the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association), has already testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, outlining the self-regulatory efforts of the major cosmetic industry over the past several decades.  From the written testimony of Pamela G. Bailey, CFO and President of the PCPC,   "The result of manufacturer safety practices and voluntary initiatives under a existing framework of Federal law has been an outstanding safety record that has been commended by previous FDA Commissioners.  Cosmetics and personal care products are the safest category of products regulated by the FDA."  Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, also submitted testimony which included the following:  "We believe the proposed legislation should be more closely targeted and prioritized according to risk. Several of the legislative sections appear not to be sufficiently focused on high-risk products. Some of these requirements would divert resources, which could detract from important product safety and security priorities."   While these larger entities are not arguing for or against the proposed legislation, these seem to be cautionary statements that would lead us to believe the larger industry has faith in existing industry efforts to self-regulate cosmetic safety via the CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) established by CFTA in 1976 and funded entirely by the industry, evaluating more than 1,300 ingredients and publishing peer-reviewed scientific literature, available to the public. 

We are fortunate to have Donnamaria Coles Johnson who because of her passion for cosmetics and beauty products has tirelessly championed for small beauty products companies.  If you are a small cosmetic manufacturer and are not a member of the Indie Beauty Network, you are missing a plethora of ideas, education and networking to assist your business development.  Donnamaria has put up a public page to address this latest FDA issue, open to the public for comments and suggestions.   She will be preparing a position paper, using members' comments that will carry our voice to be heard by the Committees in charge of vetting public comments.  You can find Donnamaria's message and governmental links here: 

We urge all small natural cosmetic manufacturers to keep abreast of this issue and join efforts as needed to make sure that indie business doesn't get left behind.     

Posted by Marcia on June 1, 2008 in Certification, Organizations, Politics, Regulatory Issues, Research, Safety/Toxicity, Trade Issues | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 04, 2008

Perfume Politics: The Oppressive Perfumer's Guild

Guilds are perhaps the precursors of modern trade unions, and also, paradoxically, of some aspects of the modern corporation.  Guilds are actually small business associations and have little in common with trade unions.  They are more like cartels in that they assume exclusive privilege to produce certain goods or services or dictate standards of a profession.  Guilds can establish restrictive guidelines or a rigid system and can exclude those who do not abide.  Guilds emerged with a similar spirit and character to the original patent systems and are not generally conducive to a democratic free flow of development and interaction.   

In the modern democracy, we have created nonprofit organizations or NGO's intended to benefit a group by collective efforts and by providing public education or  services that benefit society.  Legal nonprofit corporations receive tax relief, but are required to provide public reporting and transparency.  Such nonprofit endeavors are usually governed democratically and operated by officials periodically elected from within the membership.  This creates a structure that will evolve the endeavor into the future separate from and not dependent on or owned by any one member. 

The French Perfumer's Guild of antiquity was perhaps the worst example of the power a Guild over its members.  Established by an edict of King Philippe-Auguste in 1190 (reconfirmed by patent letters by King Jean in 1357, again by King Henri III in 1582, and again by Louis XIV in 1658, the "confrerie des Maitres Gantiers et Parfumeurs") that primarily gave glovemakers of the extended medieval period the exclusive right (i.e., monopoly) to manufacture and sell cosmetics of all types.  Why glovemakers, you ask?  Gloves were made from leather tanned using urine and other toxic and putrid substances and needed to be scented before they could be respectably worn.  The glovemakers were wealthy manufacturing businesses and they were quite adept at organized efforts to lobby each respective monarchy, reminding of the importance of their role in medieval society and thereby acquiring the sanction necessary to maintain their monopoly.  And, one can also suspect that favors were extended.  Today, we might call them bribes.  As you can see, this monopoly continued for a long time and was grounded in the necessity for perfuming what would otherwise be unusable products - leather gloves.   The corporation or guild, headed up primarily by master glovemakers,  established the sole credentials of those who could sell gloves as well as perfumed goods and dictated the kinds of products they could manufacture . . . a long list including sachets with perfumed powders, compositions used in burners for environmental scent, pomades for the hair, soap, cosmetic creams, scented gloves and even tobacco.  A quaint novelty to us today, but in common use then, was the "oyselets de Chypre."  These were cloth birds in bright colors, decorated with feathers and stuffed with aromatic powders, then placed in ornate cages and hung from ceilings or walls to add fragrance to a room.

By 1750, there were 250 master perfumers, members of the corporation who had served 4 years as an apprentice and an additional 3 years as "compagnons" before reaching the status of master.  For all intents and purposes, they were slaves, not free (until the Revolution that is) to work outside the confines of the guild or to develop their own trade and commerce.  Only rarely were there exceptions, a notable one being René Le Florentin, Catherine de Medicis's personal and favorite perfumer.  Le Florentin had a reputation for talent in creating scents and fabricating poisons!  And, obviously Catherine was well positioned to demand for him premature status.

Everything changes.  Along  came the French Revolution, rendering perfume and other objects considered frivolous luxury symbols of excesses of the aristocracy out of favor.  With the exception of popular scents like, "parfum á la Guillotine".  Under the Terror, choice of scent indicated political affiliation, a kind of odorous password.  Politically correct scents could literally save one from execution.  Napoleon's return from conquering (so he claimed) Egypt, along with his renowned heroic status gave him the power to re-establish the importance of French manufacturing to the glory of the nation.  His fondness for cologne bode well for the lagging perfume industry, establishing imperial commissions as well as scientific and technological research in organic chemistry . . . a science that would revolutionize the perfume industry in the latter half of the 1700's.   Thus, the adjective "French" is aligned with the noun "civilization" and under a new empire, cosmetic luxury products had a more general and populist allure.

One would hope that we are beyond the oppressive restrictions imposed on the medieval creative perfume artists of the day and that individuality and inventiveness are the modern dictates for his or her endeavors and acceptance.  And, that perfume guilds are fashioned after the democratic principles of modern non-profits and NGO's. 


Stamelman, Richard, "Perfume: A Cultural History of Fragrance from 1750 to the Present", 2006, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.

Classen, Constance, Howes, David, Synnott, Anthony, "Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell", 1994, Routledge Press

Newman, Cathy, "Perfume: The Art and Science of Scent",  1998 National Geographic Press

Posted by Marcia on May 4, 2008 in Certification, Education, History, Organizations, Perfumery, Politics, Regulatory Issues | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack