The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) program recently enhanced its Standard for Safer Cleaning Products, the cornerstone of its green product recognition program.

Each year, DfE partners will now experience one of three auditing processes: a desk audit; an on-site audit; or partnership renewal. The sequencing of these processes will depend on where a partner currently is in the three-year partnership cycle. DfE's third-party reviewers (NSF International and ToxServices) will administer the audit process.

The primary purpose of the newly adopted auditing process is to ensure that DfE-labeled products contain the same ingredients as were reported to DfE during the partnership development process.

The changes also reflect a commitment to creating a formal process for recognizing green private label products rather than on a case-by-case basis. According to the standard, private label products may carry the DfE logo if its contents are either identical to those in a specified DfE-recognized product, or very similar. If ingredients do differ, they must have been approved in the partnership agreement.

Distributors of private label products will not have to become a partner with the DfE program for their products to bear the logo. However, private label products are still subject to the new auditing process.

Finally, the updated standard will recognize products available in continuous dispensing systems.