What is “Organic”?

What is “Organic”?

The word “organic” is used to describe food which has been grown without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Organic food has been grown by working with nature rather than against it, by recycling natural materials to maintain soil fertility and encouraging natural methods of pest and disease control, rather than relying on chemicals. Organic farming recognizes that nature has been successful in sustaining life for millions of years so the basic principle of organic farming closely follows those in the natural world.

Products labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on the National List or non-organically produced agricultural products that are not commercially available in organic form.

What is “100% Organic”?

Products labeled as “100 percent organic” must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients.

Products meeting the requirements for “100 percent organic” and “organic” may display these terms and the percentage of organic content on their principal display panel. The USDA seal and the seal or mark of involved certifying agents may appear on product packages and in advertisements.

Foods labeled “100 percent organic” and “organic” cannot be produced using excluded methods, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation.

What is “Made with Organic”?

Processed products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients” and list up to three of the organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel. For example, soup made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients and only organic vegetables may be labeled either “soup made with organic peas, potatoes, and carrots,” or “soup made with organic vegetables.”

Processed products labeled “made with organic ingredients” cannot be produced using excluded methods, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation.

The percentage of organic content and the certifying agent seal or mark may be used on the principal display panel. However, the USDA seal cannot be used anywhere on the package.

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