'Therapeutic essential oils' and 'food grade essential oils' are a myth.

after doing a bit more research on food grade essential oils, this is what I came up with:   'Therapeutic essential oils' and 'food grade essential oils' are a myth. There is no independent standard for either of these 'grades'. They are taken to mean 100% essential oils without any adulteration, but apparently the grades at best just reflect the suppliers internal process of quality control and at worst are just marketing hype.   That is why Certified Organic is so important - it is an independently audited and verified standard or 'grade' that assures the consumer the oil really is 100% pure and free from synthetics, adulterations and grown without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and without being exposed to environmental toxins. This is why certified organic products are often so much more expensive - they are the 'real' deal and to quality check that takes time and money.   The Australian National Standard for Certified Organic produce is predominantly an organic food initiative, extending to skincare and cosmetics that only use organic ingredients - like food for the skin. The purity and quality of the essential oils you choose to use is thus best reflected by a Certified Organic status and a Certificate of Analysis reflecting the origins, extraction methods and technical data of each batch.   So on our labels we can write:   Caution: If pregnant, nursing, taking medication or if you have a medical condition, consult your health practitioner before use. Keep out of reach of children. Keep in a cool dark place. For topical or aromatic use. 100% pure certified organic essential oil – beyond ‘therapeutic’ or ‘food grade'.   The aromatic use can be taken to mean for flavouring in food, but we can't actually legally write - for internal use - on the labels in Australia. You can in the USA, but not here. This is just a TGA rule, rather than a reflection of there being any difference in the grade of oil.   Given all this we can change the caution to the above and educate people on the misinformation about food grade oils and still put out recipes using essential oils, but write 'certified organic' rather than food grade and explain how certified organic is better than any other made up grade.

Posted 24 January 2015

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