Hollywood actress Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, which sells a wide variety of non-toxic baby goods, has just recalled its organic baby powder. On January 10th, an official video was released on the company’s website announcing the recall.
Although company executives have ordered this recall before any official issues have been reported, this is the latest in a long string of controversies surrounding the Honest Company. Some formerly optimistic investors are now casting doubt over the Honest Company’s long-term prospects.
Details Behind The Honest Company’s Recall of Baby Powder
The Honest Company decided to recall this organic baby powder after a routine testing revealed potential health issues. Chris Gavigan, the co-founder of the Honest Company, told reporters the organic baby powder might contain certain microorganisms that could cause skin rashes and/or infections. In a video released on the Honest Company’s website, Gavigan said,
Possible contamination with some microorganisms was found, including some species associated with skin or the infections, for that reason…we’ve decided to voluntarily recall this product out of an abundance of caution.
Some news articles initially claimed that this recall was initiated after customers’ complaints, but all news sites have since corrected their error. The particular organic baby powder being recalled is only sold in 4-ounce containers and has a UPC code of #817810014529. Anyone who now has one of these products should send them back to the Honest Company for a total refund. At this moment, the organic baby powder is the only product officially recalled by the Honest Company.
The Honest Company’s Numerous Lawsuits
Jessica Alba, Chris Gavigan, and various other executives officially opened the Honest Company in 2011. Alba told reporters her own childhood memories of painful reactions to baby products was a major reason she decided to found the Honest Company. She was inspired to create a company dedicated to providing mothers with totally non-toxic products. Of course, Alba was also inspired to create Honest Company after the birth of her own children.
In addition to selling baby products, the Honest Company now also sells vitamins, cleaning products, and tote bags. Things appeared to be going well for this enterprise in the beginning. By 2015, the company surpassed $1 billion in valuation, and it attracted a great deal of attention from the investor community. Unfortunately, as 2015 progressed, the Honest Company faced a $5 million class-action lawsuit claiming the company’s Honest Sunscreen SPF 30 caused customers extreme burns.
This suit is still in process. In 2016, the Honest Company faced three more lawsuits on their products. One of these lawsuits claimed that the company’s laundry detergent contains sodium laurel sulfate, which can be extremely dangerous to one’s health. The Honest Company claimed that they only used sodium coco sulfate in their laundry detergent.
Another of these lawsuits claimed that the Honest Company’s conditioning detangler and shampoo & body wash products had toxic chemicals in them. Yet another lawsuit said Honest’s Organic Infant Formula had at least 11 chemical ingredients that were not legally “organic.”
Future Of The Honest Company Uncertain
Business experts believe this latest recall will erode consumer confidence even more in Honest Company. One brand expert, Kris Ruby, told reporters,
When customers sense the disconnect of what they are led to believe vs. the amount of product lawsuits they are now seeing, that absolutely tarnishes the long term-brand equity in Alba’s brand.
Although the Honest Company plans on hitting the IPO market in the future, the company seems more focused on clearing up these lawsuits in the near-term. Whether or not the lawsuits turn out in Alba’s favor or not, the Honest Company will have to restore consumer confidence in the months ahead.