ABS - Absolute
AGRO - Aggriculture BF - Biodynamic Farmed
CAS - Chemical Abstract Service registry number
CofA - Certificate of Analysis
C/ORG - Certified Organic
CG - Cosmetic Grade
CP - Cold Pressed
EcoCert - Eco Certified
FDA - Food and Drug Administration
FG - Food Grade
GMO - Genetically Modified Organism
gMP - Good Manufacturing Practices
GRAS - Generally Regarded As Safe (for consumption)
HACCP - Hazardous Analysis of Critical Control Points
INCI - International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients
K - Kosher
MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet
NF - National Formulary
NG - Next Gereration
NPA - Natural Products Association
NRA - National Restaurant Association
NSA - National Soil Association
NSF - National Sanitation Foundation
ORG - Organically Farmed
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Association
OTC - Over the Counter Drugs
pH - Positive Hydrogen
QS - Quantity Sufficient
REACH - Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemical Substances
REF - Refined
SD - Steam Distilled
SE - Solvent Extracted
TEWL - Trans Epidermal Water Loss
USP - United States Pharmacopia
V - Virgin
WC - Wild Crafted
WW (W/W) - Water Weight
XV - Extra Virgin
... An absolute is an aromatic extraction of plant material using any number of solvents. This method of extraction is usually utilized for those plant materials that do not readily release their fragrance through traditional steam distillation. Care should be used when purchasing or using absolutes because the absolute may contain residual solvents, depending on the processing.
AGRO ... This refers to aggriculture. In the field of Essential Oils this accronym is used to indicate farming method of the plant material, i.e., the material may be organic, wild harvested, plantation grown ...
BF ... Biodynamic Farmed is a system or organic farming that utilizes natural plant stimuli vs synthetic chemicals and for most the practice includes the use of astrological sowing and planting cycles.
CAS ... The Chemical Abstract Service is a system created to ensure a standardization for the identification of chemicals by assigned numbers to ensure global identification across industries and markets. The CAS# is the one sure means to identify a chemical.
CofA ... The Certificate of Analysis is a document that indicates certain defined attributes / specifications of a raw material. This will usually include the material's lot number, manufacturing and expiration / re-test dates, as well as physical characteristics.
C/ORG ... Organic Cerification is a certification program for producers of organic agricultural products. There are several certifying bodies and the guidelines may vary from body to body and country to country. Generally the guidelines will include strict adherence to specific standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging, and sometimes even shipping. In some countries, which includes the US, certification is overseen by the govt. and commercial use of the term is legally restricted and controlled aggressively. For the retail customer to end up with a product that is certified organic it is required that every single business / facility involved in the handling of the product pay certification fees including: the producer; transporter; distributor; supplier; manufacturer; and the re-seller or wholesaler of the final product. Literally every facility or business that touches the product must be certified. The only time that the product may be handled without being required to register and pay the fees would be if the product is completely finished (packaged and sealed without exposure). In these times of struggling small farmers there are many farmers that practice organic farming but do not certify their crop and there are some that maintain the exact same practices for all of their crop but only certify a small portion in order to reduce the fees.
CG ... Cosmetic Grade indicates that a raw material is processed to ensure suitability for application to the skin with no likelihood to cause harm.
CP ... Cold Pressed is the term used to indicate that an oil has been extracted from a source material using any form of equipment that only applies pressure to extract the oil contained within the source material. This is the standard process used to extract vegetable and citrus oils. Traditionally, all citrus oils that are referred to as essential oils are actually pressed from the skin of the citrus fruit. Unless the citrus oil is specifically identified otherwise it can be assumed that they are cold pressed.
EcoCert ... ECOCERT is an organic certification organization based in Europe who also conducts inspections in many other countries. EcoCert is one of the largest organic certification organizations in the world whose primary focus is the certification of food and food products but they also certify cosmetics, detergents, perfumes, and even textiles. EcoCert inspects about 70% of the organic food industry in France and about 30% worldwide. ECOCERT is the leading certification organization of fair trade food as well as cosmetics per ECOCERT Fair Trade standards.
FDA ... The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for:
- Protecting the public health by assuring that foods (except for meat from livestock, poultry and some egg products which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) are safe, wholesome, sanitary and properly labeled; ensuring that human and veterinary drugs, and vaccines and other biological products and medical devices intended for human use are safe and effective
- Protecting the public from electronic product radiation
- Assuring cosmetics and dietary supplements are safe and properly labeled
- Regulating tobacco products
- Advancing the public health by helping to speed product innovations
FDA's responsibilities extend to the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and other U.S. territories and possessions.
As it relates to cosmetics the FDA does not approve nor regulate cosmetics with the exception of color additives. It is the sole responsibility of the retailer to ensure safe use of their product when used as directed by their label or under customary conditions of use. It is important to note that they do oversee all Over the Counter Drugs (OTC) which they define as "products intended to treat or prevent disease, or affect the structure or function of the body". These OTC are strictly overseen and to market them they must be tested and proven and then FDA approved. This is true even if a product affects how you look. Some examples include: treatments for dandruff or acne, sunscreen products, antiperspirants, and diaper ointments. Some are considered both cosmetics and drugs. Examples include: anti-dandruff shampoos and antiperspirant-deodorants, as well as moisturizers and makeup with SPF (sun protection factor) numbers. They must meet the requirements for both cosmetics and drugs.
The FDA does oversee the labeling of all Cosmetics which they define as "a product, except soap, intended to be applied to the human body for
cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance". You can find all information related to proper Cosmetic labeling using this link: Cosmetic Labeling Guide. You can also find it on this item page, in PDF format, for easy download by clicking on related items at the bottom of the page.
gMP ... Good Manufacturing Practices
HACCP ... Hazardous Analysis of Critical Control Points
INCI ... International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients
MSDS ... Material Safety Data Sheet
NF ... National Formulary
NPA ... Natural Products Association
NSA ... National Soil Association
NSF ... National Sanitation Foundation
ORG ... Organically Farmed
OSHA ... Occupational Safety and Health Association
OTC ... Over the Counter Drugs
pH ... Positive Hydrogen
QS ... Quantity Sufficient
REACH ... Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemical Substances
REF ... Refined
SD ... Steam Distilled
SE ... Solvent Extracted
TEWL ... Trans Epidermal Water Loss
USP ... United States Pharmacopia
WC ... Wild Crafted
WW (w/w) ... Water Weight