The day Young Living broke my heart
As I explain my story below, I urge you to keep an open mind and look at all the facts and ask questions. If someone tells you to pay no attention to this and just move on…ask yourself why they are doing this and what they have to gain from keeping you in the dark.
Thursday February 25th 2016 was the day this all started. As an Aromatherapy student, I spend a lot of time in various aromatherapy/essential oil Facebook groups. It was late afternoon this particular Thursday that I came across a post in one of the groups that contained GC/MS test results of a Cinnamon Bark essential oil sample [what is a GC/MS test? Click here]. The sample was found be adulterated with synthetics. This bit of info did not surprise me, as Essential Oil adulteration runs rampant in the fragrance industry. What did surprise me, was the very strong insinuation that this particular sample was of Young Living’s cinnamon bark, followed later by pictures of the actual bottle clearly showing the Young Living label. Immediately I sent a copy of the test report, screenshot of the post and pictures of the unopened bottle to Young Living’s product support [copy of that e-mail can be found by clicking the thumbnail below, or by clicking HERE] as I simply refused to believe any possibility that this could be true.
The following day (Friday February 26th 2016) I received what appeared to be a fairly standard/generic form response from YL Product Support more or less telling me not to worry and called the whole ordeal a smear campaign by a competitor.
Speculation and accusations began running rampant in the Facebook groups and Young Living’s name continued to be dragged through the “mud” so to speak. Wanting to provide some kind of proof to my family, clients, and friends that Young Living products were pure, I decided to have an oil tested, at my expense. Why you ask? Well back in 2015 I had e-mailed YL Product Support asking why they do not release or provide GC/MS testing reports. In their reply [copy of that e-mail can be found by clicking the thumbnail below, or by clicking HERE] they advised me that if I wanted documentation on the purity of the oils, I was welcome to submit them for testing through an independent lab of my choice.
I contacted a testing laboratory located in Quebec, Canada that specialized in essential oils and natural health products called Phytochemia to obtain pricing and shipping information. To avoid any claims of tampering or sabotage, I logged into my Young Living Virtual Office and placed an order for a bottle of Cinnamon Bark. I had the shipping information changed to the laboratory in Quebec so that Young Living would ship the oil directly to them from the warehouse and there could be no claims of tampering with bottle caps, etc.
On March 3rd 2016 I received notice from the Lab that they received my sample of Cinnamon Bark that I had Young Living send to them and was advised that I would have the results within 2 weeks time.
March 18th I received an email from the lab again containing the GC/MS report from my sample I had tested. Nervously, I opened the attachment and scrolled to the bottom; conclusion; section. The sample has been adulterated with synthetic cinnamaldehyde, indicated by the presence of phenylpentadienal isomers.
Tears filled my eyes as the reality of the situation began to sink in. My close family used Cinnamon Bark internally, not to mention the sheer volume of Thieves products that contained Cinnamon. I attempted some conversations with my “uplines” about the issue but merely got “don’t worry” and “I’ve used the products for years and I’m fine!”. Quickly realizing that I would not get the answers I wanted from them and not knowing where else to turn, I sent an e-mail to Young Living’s Chief Operating Officer, Jared Turner and included a copy of the test report. Hope and faith briefly returned when I received a reply from Jared, thanking me for bringing the issue to his attention and promising me a reply.
As of the date I write this (April 28th 2016), I still have received no reply or answers to my questions from Jared, the analytical team, or anyone at corporate.
In the midst of ordering my sample to be sent to the lab for testing, I was contacted by a group of three other Young Living distributors unrelated to my sponsorship line. They were greatly concerned with the possible adulteration and lack of answers/information they were receiving from their uplines as well. One of them had an unopened bottle of Cinnamon Bark with the same lot # originally tested and posted about back on February 25th. They knew I was having a sample tested and wanted to know how they could go about getting their bottle tested, as well as another bottle of a different lot #, and a bottle of Thieves blend. They sent their samples off to the lab and roughly 2 weeks later received their results.
Because they did not have Young Living send the order direct to the lab, they were immediately chastised by fellow YL distributors making claims they had tampered with the bottles themselves, however the fact remained that my test had a clean chain of custody and YL still was not addressing the results.
My plea’s to Jared and YL corporate continued to be ignored. At this point in time I decided to collaborate with the group of three other distributors that had their samples sent in, and together we created a change.org petition [found HERE] demanding that YL address our questions, specifically the ones we had following their last statement. At almost 1300 signatures, the distributor that created the petition account (Betty), was contacted via phone from Jared Turner. I was not on the call so I won’t speak for what happened as it would merely be hearsay, but they did request that Betty take down the petition because they were going to be issuing another statement. After waiting for their statement (which didn’t come until the next day) [posted above and also available HERE], we were left with continued unanswered questions and determined the petition could not be taken down until they were addressed. Jared sent Betty a text message saying he noticed the petition was still up. When Betty replied that there were continued unanswered questions and that it might be best for the 4 of us to connect via a group e-mail, the friendly “we’re here to help” attitude immediately changed. [screenshot of that message can be found by clicking the thumbnail below, or clicking HERE]. We contacted Andrea Neipp as requested- twice. To this date (April 28th), we have not received any reply from Andrea.
It has become quite clear from the actions of Young Living corporate and Diamond and above level “leaders” that this issue will not be further addressed. As a low ranking distributor, I am not valuable in their eyes and if I stop ordering Young Living products, it’s no “skin off their backs” as the saying goes. As an advocate for health and high quality products, a consumer, and a Young Living member, I refused to sit down and sweep this all under the rug. I share my story in hopes that others will spread the word and that Young Living will be held accountable to their “seed to seal” promise and guarantee. Had they handled this in a more professional manner, followed-up, etc. I may have been able to overlook this as a quality control issue that “slipped through the cracks”, but the despicable behavior demonstrated by fellow distributors and corporate means I simply can not.
Please share this story so that others may learn the truth and so they can make informed decisions for them and their families going forward. I will continue to update this page if/when new developments arise. I welcome your questions and comments and will try and answer as many as I can.
It is with a very heavy heart and great sadness that I write this post. My decision to share my story with you has not come lightly. It comes after much research, soul searching, and great personal and financial sacrifice. You see, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by keeping quiet about this and continuing to grow my team and build my business, but as the saying goes “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right and evil doesn’t become good, just because it is accepted by a majority.”