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What 'Organic' Really Means Under the Law

This yellow squash came from a farm that has been certified organic.
This yellow squash came from a farm that has been certified organic. (By Marcus Yam -- The Washington Post)
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Friday, July 3, 2009

What "organic" really means under federal law:

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"100 Percent Organic" products must show an ingredient list, the name and address of the handler (bottler, distributor, importer, manufacturer, packer, processor) of the finished product, and the name and seal of the organic certifier. These products should contain no chemicals, additives, synthetics, pesticides or genetically engineered substances.

"USDA Organic" products must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients. The five percent non-organic ingredients could include additives or synthetics if they are on an approved list. The label must contain a list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product, and the name of the organic certifier.

"Made With Organic" products must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. The label must contain a list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product, along with the name of the organic certifier.

If a product contains less than 70 percent organic ingredients, it cannot use the word "organic" on the packaging or display panel, and the only place an organic claim can be made is on the ingredient label.


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