Organic Labeling

You’ve probably seen the organic seal on packaged food, which looks like this:

Ever wonder what it means exactly, or what the word organic means on a label? I’ll break it down in this post, since the last one wen’t over regulations.

“100 Percent Organic”

This one’s easy. Must contain 100% organic ingredients, not including salt and water. The information panel must identify organic ingredients.

“Organic”

Must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not including salt and water. The remaining 5% can be non-organic if there is no commercially available organic form (think gelatin, gums, and other additives) or if it is non-agricultural (think minerals, bacteria cultures, and enzymes).

“Made with Organic…”

Must contain at least 70% organic ingredients overall, not including salt and water. The front can list up to three ingredients. The information panel must identify organic ingredients. CAN’T USE THE SEAL.

What if a product has organic ingredients, but less than 70% of them? They can be identified in the ingredient list. That’s it. No seal and the word organic can’t be on the front package.

All percentages are calculated by weight or fluid volume, and numbers are always rounded down. There is an exception for producers who make less than $5000 worth of organic products annually, but these are not common and are probably local finds. They still need to follow applicable regulations, but don’t need to get certified (aka pay for certification) and they can’t use the seal.

Update: You can read specifically about Organic milk here.

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