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Specialty Sleep Assn. offers guidance on using "organic" in bedding marketing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Specialty Sleep Assn. says its Environmental and Safety program can help mattress producers comply with government guidelines on organic bedding claims.

The SSA released a statement on the issue in the wake of a memo recently issued by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's National Organic Program that provides clear guidance on using the term ‘organic' to market products in the country, SSA officials said.

The new memo and other recent actions in the governmental arena prompted SSA President Dale Read to urge bedding manufacturers and retailers that are making ‘organic' product claims to focus on compliance now, in order to avoid government-issued penalties.

"The NOP's new policy memo is one of several dictates recently issued from U.S. government agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, that affect how bedding products may be marketed to consumers now and going forward," Read said. "The SSA Environmental and Safety seal and tag program should be viewed as a tool kit for mattress manufacturers eager to streamline the process of substantiating product claims because much of the work has already been done for them."

"Guidance on marketing organic ingredients versus finished products has not always been clear," added Vicki Worden, president of Worden Associates, an environmental consulting firm to companies and not-for-profit organizations, including the SSA. "The new policy memo tells marketers how they can and cannot use the word organic. For finished products, like mattresses, it clearly indicates that a USDA claim is not allowed."

The SSA's three-level Environmental and Safety seal and tag program was created last year and has helped manufacturers by creating a roadmap for communicating environmental attributes and properly documenting their proof, SSA officials said.

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