Re: Your clients sent me unopened, untampered samples

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Posted by Maureen on October 10, 2002 at 22:00:00:

In reply to: Your clients sent me unopened, untampered samples posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on October 10, 2002 at 19:20:36:


Perhaps the OVERWHELMING support you got came from people who had
willingly wanted to participate in your testing. Perhaps it was not
their product. Perhaps they are more concerned with supporting you
than looking closely at what you have done and the way you have gone
about doing it.

This is a tired issue because you appear to be unwilling to test with
credibility that is required to consider something a true analysis
and the results to be valid.

Your own words from your August 27, 2002 post when calling for
samples for this latest list:

"...If you want to send me something, I'd prefer unopened boxes and
packages so I don't hear some shrill voice saying "oh my competitors
are trying to ruin me".... accusing someone of tampering..."

Well, anything sent to you represented as my henna powders are not
packaged so they are tamper-proof. They don't come in some
manufacturer sealed boxes. Any plastic bag can be opened and
reclosed and taped down again. Or even put into a different plastic
bag. So why do you ask for things and set your own standards that
you are willing to and indeed do violate?

To accept something that someone sent to you and as you
stated "assured" you that they did not "tamper" with it would not be
acceptible to anyone attempting to do real research and seriously
control the samples they receive. And without controlling those
samples, you can in no way state that what you tested is truly
representative of the product shipped by the exporter or the
supplier. And if you cannot 100% assure what you looked at is the
product of the exporter and/or the supplier, then why would or should
any exporter or supplier take seriously what you say you saw under
the microscope. Why would a supplier take your information back to
an exporter when there is no certainty that what you looked at is
from the exporter?

You brought up the topic of tampering. So you know it is a
possibility. So why would you not absolutely control against it?

You have problems with the emails you have received? I have problems
with the fact that you insist upon yanking my products into your
exercises without having legitimacy and control in your process. The
only thing that can ever make your lists legitimate will be for you
to control how you get the henna powders you look at. Until that is
done, the list is pretty useless for anyone truly wishing to know
anything about what is actually being exported here or what a
supplier is providing them. And to tout that the information can and
should be used in that way without putting in acceptible controls
continues to be misleading.

To state that my emails to you have accused you of any "evil intent"
is just not true. I have questioned your process and methods. And I
will continue to do so as long as the process and methods you use
raise the questions. These questions remain unanswered. You
response continues to be essentially that you have done what you
wanted to do..."so what...go buy yourself a microscope." And that is
less than an adequate response.

I will be glad to let anyone know when my henna powders have been
involved in your exercises in a way that satisfies my need to know
that what you tested are my henna powders. Until then, I make it
clear that I don't know what you tested and continue to not be able
to support any of your findings or legitimize any list that has my
powders on it.

Perhaps that is all that will come of this. You will continue doing
what you do in the way you do it. I will continue to point out the
flaws in how you collected my henna powders and therefore the
weakness in your process and methods. I will continue to question
your reasons for going about this in the way that you do when the way
you do it keeps raising serious questions. Some people will ask
themselves those questions. Some people will not. The person to
really ask themselves that question is you.

If a supplier or exporter does not want their henna powder to be a
part of what you are doing...whatever their reason...what is the
reason for insisting upon their inclusion on your list? If people
purchasing henna powder want to go to your list to see what may be in
a henna powder, it would make more sense to make sure the list
absolutely...100%...does indeed reflect the powders. That would
require obtaining those henna powders with zero risk of tampering.
If a henna powder is not on your list, then it is up to the potential
buyer to decide whether or not they wish to buy from someone who does
not wish to participate in your examination of henna powders. No
one's henna powder has to be on your list. To force it on there is
to engage in a process of collecting that provides no credibility to
the list.

My henna powders will never be on your list legitimately. I had
collected my new powders and was waiting for one more shipment to
come in so that my henna powders would be included in your testing in
a way that would enable me to support what you are attempting to do.
All of my powders that I am now sending out to my customers have been
shipped to me in September 2002. I cannot and will not participate
in an exercise that continues to be so distrustful of the exact
people it is intended to impact. If a person cannot and does not and
will not respect or trust my opinions, views and wishes for how my
products are treated, then how and why would I trust that person's
views and intentions as they relate to my product or others.

To state, "Your clients sent me unopend, untampered samples" raises
the question...How do you know that with certainty? And the answer
is...You can't know that with certainty.

I also am not willing to hold henna powder up to a standard that most
products manufactured, produced, distributed and used within the U.S.
could not stand up to. Fast food restaurants sell meat with a level
of bone and gristle in them that is within the guidelines of the
FDA. It is not unheard of for people to sift their flour, cornmeal,
sugar and other food products and find a pebble or bit of sand or
some sort of grit. These products surpass FDA standards and pass
inspection when packed and delivered to the grocery store prior to
reaching our homes. I have no doubt that Clairol and any other
company putting out hair coloring could not pass a test requiring
there to be absolutely no piece of grit or sand. I imagine that any
natural product that is grown in dirt may well have some small
quantity of dirt in it. I also imagine that those products will show
something through a microscope or test for sound. There is no doubt
in my mind that there are pieces of something in every henna
powder...even if it is just a ground up bug that is so finely ground
that it goes through a sieve.

The FDA is going to turn away henna powders FULL of dyes. You can
see with your own eyes henna powders that are full of dyes. The FDA
is not testing for microscopic pieces of sand or dirt that is
probably inevitable in products grown in the earth...especially since
these products are not imported for human consumption. If a henna
powder is full of dirt and grit, it is not going to dye worth a dime
because dirt and grit don't dye. The FDA is not going to reject
admission of a henna powder because it is not pulverized to the
extent that we demand. It is the call of individual suppliers to
make changes of exporter or influence the exporter to make a change
in the quality of consistency of the powder. Exporters can do a
better job on many of the henna powders that have gotten into the
U.S. in the past. But credit is due and should be given to the
exporters who have done a good job with their henna powders. To say
that nothing except 100% henna powder is all that is acceptible is to
set a standard that could probably be met by no henna powder. Just
because a powder goes through the sieve does not mean that what is in
that particular powder is 100% henna powder. There are many things
that can get through the sieve and that do not show up through a
microscope. It will take sending all of the henna powders to a
chemist lab to find out with certainty that the henna powder is 100%
henna powder and not something else. And this will have to be done
with every shipment. That is not reasonable...that is not feasible.
I would hope that what we really want is what is reasonable and
provable with certainty.

We can not want or expect more from a co-op in Yemen than we want or
expect from major companies right here in the U.S. We can not want
to establish and use a yardstick for measuring what is acceptible or
not acceptible, that sets a standard that can not be met by the
people who have provided this product for thousands of years. When
do we cross the line and are no longer wanting what works for us and
are instead into the Americanization of Henna/Mehndi? If that is
what is the intent, fine. But that flies in the face of embracing
what is historical and traditional about the exact product we love.
There is something about saying, "I love down home southern food."
And then work like mad to get southern cooks to leave out the grease
and fatback. Some things come with the territory. No...I do not
like dye stuff in my henna powder. But is it possible to get a henna
powder with no specks of dirt...a couple grains of sand...a well
ground and pulverized bug or two? Is that in the top five criteria
when I am selecting a henna powder? If without sifting or straining
the powder I get it through that medium Jacquard metal tip...the
largest Peblo tip...a cone...a carrot bag...then that henna powder
has met the standard for my personal use and more importantly, it has
met the standard and criteria identified to me as being most
important by most of my customers.

That standard is the one I am most interested in. That is who must
set the standard...the people using the henna powders...the people
who are spread out all over the U.S., Mexico, South America, Canada,
the Islands, and of course the rest of the world.

It is not War and is a reasonable and reasoned response.


: Get a microscope yourself and start looking at your henna. There are
: SERIOUS problems with overseas suppliers. Igorance is NOT bliss.
: Again: but for you and Maureen's "War and Peace" length emails
: accusing me of all sorts of evil intent, I'm recieving nothing but
: absolute support from forum people who want to KNOW what they're
: getting when they buy henna.
: If you'd been doing these tests yourself from the beginning there
: would be no problem.


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