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Yes To Carrots hits back over claims that it is hiding business ties to Israel

By Michelle Yeomans , 24-Jan-2013

Various media and consumers have been posing the question if Yes To is hiding or downplaying its ties to Israel. Cosmetics Design has taken a deeper look into the matter.

Ali Abunimah co-founder of online blog ‘The Electronic Intifada’ and author of ‘One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, as well as consumers, have been enquiring why the company no longer displays ‘Made in Israel’ labels on their products.

Abunimah reckons that up until 2008, the company’s product line in the US and in two dozen other countries – used to be clearly marked “Made in Israel” and that its' founders were proud of their Israeli roots and the fact that their products were made in the Negev (Naqab) region town of Arad in using Israeli organically-grown carrots and mud from the Dead Sea.

The author further alleged that the 'ingredients' section on the brand's website listing 'Dead Sea silt' in several products was removed from view following his enquiry.

Yes To response…

On contacting the brand in regards to Abunimah’s claims, representative Ashley Sharma told CosmeticsDesign.com USA; “Yes To is a US-incorporated company and moved to San Francisco in 2008. In 2009, we migrated all production to the US for commercial reasons. We have one product (out of 80+) that is still partially produced in Israel for the time being. Therefore, our product packaging now notes this change.”

On further enquiring about hidden relevant information on its’ website, Sharma told this publication; “As previously mentioned, our product development and production is all done in the USA, aside from one packaging vendor in Israel, and this vendor is not located in the West Bank.”

On the topic of ingredients the representitive explained that; "We originally sourced Dead Sea salt for its wonderful skin benefits. However, we have been phasing out this ingredient from our skin and hair care recipes. Therefore, we are gradually updating our packaging and website to reflect this evolution."

Background  

Yes To, started out as a brand manufactured by Sea of Life, an Israeli firm owned by Uri Ben-Hur, that uses Dead Sea mud in its’ cosmetics. By the mid-2000s Israeli entrepreneurs, Ido Leffler and Lance Kalish bought the brand and partnered with Ben-Hur.

In 2008, Globes reported on that deal; “Excited by the combination of beta Carotene and Dead Sea mud, Leffler and Kalish decided to buy the product and build it as a leading brand.”

Around the same time the Globes article was published, the brand’s website did in fact state; “Yes To Carrots is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel. Our US headquarters are located just north of Chicago in Libertyville, Illinois.”

Different information from different representatives?

While Sharma confirmed that one product was still partially produced in Israel, that a packaging vendor was situated in the country, and that Dead Sea Salt is gradually being phased out, the company’s representative in New Zealand, Lance Kalish of 'Countdown Communications', sent a statement in response to inquiries from John Minto of Global Peace and Justice Auckland last November, stating somewhat of the complete opposite.

"Yes To is incorporated and headquartered in San Francisco in the USA, and majority owned by US private equity firms. All products have been produced exclusively in the USA since 2010 in facilities in California, Vermont, and New Jersey, and no products are manufactured in Israel."

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