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Labeling of Organics

Center for Food Safety

How Can You Tell It’s Organic? Look for the Certified Organic Label

At the farmers market or farm stand, look for the official certified organic certificate required by law to be prominently posted.

At the grocery store, look for an overhead sign or bin that says organic. Individual fruits and vegetables must be individually marked with an organic sticker or imprint.

For processed foods, look for the USDA organic seal on the front of the package which guarantees that 95-100 percent of the ingredients in the product is organic. Only 5 percent of the ingredients, at most, can come from the USDA’s list of approved nonorganic ingredients. The name of the certifying agent must be listed on the package.

A product labeled made with organic ingredients can contain up to 30 percent non-organic ingredients that are on the USDA’s list of approved non-organic ingredients. Each organic ingredient must be listed on the ingredient label. Made with organic products do not display the USDA organic seal or any certifying agent seal or logo.

* NOTE: All non-organic ingredients used in certified organic products and those labeled made with organic ingredients must come from the USDA’s National List of approved substances for use in organic. Such ingredients cannot be produced using excluded methods such as genetic engineering, cloning, nanotechnology, and irradiation, and they cannot harm human health or the environment.

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