Organic Labeling

Organic products have strict production and labeling requirements.  Organic products must meet the following requirements:

  • Produced without excluded methods e.g. genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge.
  • Produced per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
  • Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program – authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.

How can you be sure the food you’re buying is in fact organic?  In order to be labeled organic, foods must fall into one of the following categories:

 

100% Organic

Raw or processed agricultural products in the “100 percent organic” category must meet these criteria:

  • All ingredients must be certified organic.
  • Any processing aids must be organic.
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.

 

Organic

Raw or processed agricultural products in the “organic” category must meet these criteria:

  • All agricultural ingredients must be certified organic, except where specified on National List.
  • Non-organic ingredients allowed per National List may be used, up to a combined total of five percent or non-organic content (excluding salt and water).
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.

 

Made with organic ingredients

Multi-ingredient agricultural products in the “made with” category must meet these criteria:

  • At least 70 percent of the product must be certified organic ingredients (excluding salt and water).
  • Any remaining agricultural products are not required to be organically produced but must be produced without excluded methods.
  • Non-agricultural products must be specifically allowed on the National List.
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.

 

Specific Organic Ingredients

Multi-ingredient products with less than 70 percent certified organic content (excluding salt and water) don’t need to be certified.  Any non-certified product:

  • Must not include USDA organic seal anywhere or the word “organic” on the principal display panel.
  • May only list certified organic ingredients as organic in the ingredient list and the percentage of organic ingredients.  Remaining ingredients are not required to follow the USDA organic regulations.

 

For more information visit:

USDA

Organic Trade Association

Additional resources:

Feingold