It seems like there are foods with organic labels on almost every aisle of the grocery store. And not only are organic labels abundant, but they vary from food to food. If you are wondering exactly what these labels mean, the following information will help you make informed decisions when shopping.
What is Organic? Organic is a term used to label foods and other agricultural products produced in compliance with USDA organic regulations. This includes creating these products using cultural, biological, and mechanical methods that promote the re-use of resources on the farm, enhance environmental benefits, promote the conservation of the surrounding land and wildlife, and restrict the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering. All products that meet these standards must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agency to meet the national organic standards.
General Organic Labeling Standards: All food products that contain an organic claim should be certified. If a producer is not authorized, then an organic claim cannot be made on the principal display panel of the product’s packaging, and the USDA organic seal cannot be used. The non-certified producer can identify any certified organic ingredients on the information panel either within the ingredient list or by listing the percentage of organic ingredients. Any product containing a USDA organic claim and/or seal must have its label reviewed and approved by the certifying agency to ensure compliance.
100 Percent Organic Labeling: The following conditions must be met for any product to be labeled as 100 percent organic:
These products can include the USDA organic seal and/or can state the 100% organic claim on the principal display panel of the product’s packaging. Additionally, the information panel must identify the ingredients as organic either by wording (e.g., organic spinach) or using an asterisk or other identifying symbol.
Organic Labeling: The following criteria must be met for any product to be labeled as organic:
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