What does the PEFC label mean and should it cause fear?

False – the statement is untrue, there is no evidence to support it, the author is lying or unintentionally misleading 

A video showing hygiene products with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Systems (PEFC) logo was widely shared on social media. The video implies that the label means that the products contain a certain “chemical” and are dangerous. At the end of the video, its creator says that people are going to be exterminated. There is no basis for these claims.

“Hi, all! Now I want to give you some new information”, is the beginning of a video in Russian posted by a TikTok user on 4 October. The video has been viewed more than 220 000 times. A short version of it was published on Facebook by a user from Latvia and there it was shared by several thousand people.

The creator of the video first shows the Rainforest Alliance logo with the green frog on a tea package and says, “We already know everything about the frog logo.” In July this year Re:Check published an article on how lies are being widely spread on social media in Latvia and elsewhere about allegedly harmful substances or even vaccines in food products with the Alliance logo. This is not true – the logo is used for products grown in sustainably managed rainforests. It doesn’t mean that something harmful has been added to them.

This time, the creator of the video is scaring people with the logo of another organisation without providing any evidence for his claims. While pointing to the PEFC label on a package of wet wipes for women, he says:

“You know what they turned to now? Hygiene products. There is a new logo on hygiene products. I’ll show you now, be careful (…) When you walk around the shops, look carefully at this sign. Now they have relabelled all the chemicals, all the nastiness and added them to hygiene products (…) In this situation, I think we will all be exterminated soon.”

Image: screenshot from the TikTok video.

The logo does not mean that a specific “chemical” or “nastiness” has been added to hygiene products and that it is intended to destroy people. PEFC is an international non-governmental organisation that promotes sustainable forest management. Seeing their logo on a product means that the goods meet PEFC standards. The organisation certifies forest products throughout the supply chain and aims to promote good forestry practices, including the protection of the rights of workers in the field. The logo can be found on many products such as napkins, toilet paper, wooden furniture and various packaging, PEFC states on its website. PEFC is also not something new, as is claimed in the video. In fact, the organisation was founded already in 1999.

Conclusion: The claims made in the video about the PEFC logo are not true. Having the logo on a product means that the wood and other forest products used in it have been produced according to the quality standards set by the PEFC, and not that any harmful substances have been added to the goods or that they are intended to kill people.

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