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Healthy Lifestyle Tips | Guide to Organic Labeling

Guide to Organic Labeling

The USDA enacted new organic production and distribution standards in October 2002. These standards create more consistency in the use of the organic label. The USDA also outlined the difference between the labels "organic" and "100 percent organic." The following is a guide to the USDA labeling system:

  • The USDA allows products that contain all organic ingredients to be labeled as "100% organic." Products that contain 95 to 100 percent organic ingredients can be labeled as "organic."

  • Products that contain 70 to 95 percent organic content can be labeled as "made with organic ingredients" and should provide a list of no more than three organic ingredients (or categories) on the front of the packaging. Companies have the option of also listing the percent of organic ingredients in the product.

  • Products labeled "100% organic" or "organic" can display the USDA organic logo - but it is strictly optional. Products labeled as "made with organic ingredients" may not use the USDA logo. The USDA accredited organic certifier must be listed in all three labeling cases.

  • For products with less than 70 percent organic ingredients, the word organic may not be used anywhere on the package except that it may be identified as such in the list of ingredients.

Writer: Sydney Maupin, Staff Writer
Contributors: Jim Gallagher, RD, CD; Goldie Caughlan, PCC Nutrition Education Manager
Date: 2003 (Reviewed in June 2004)

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