Organic labeling rules tightened

USDA’s National Organic Program has tightened the requirements for the use of brand or company names that contain the word “organic” or its variants on the labeling of packaged food products.

The new instruction does not allow a brand or company name with the word “organic” in it to be on the front of the package (Principal Display Panel) if the product falls below the 95% organic level.  In other words, only products bearing the USDA Organic seal may display a brand or company name using the term “organic” on the front of the package.

However, products certified at the “made with organic” level (70%) or containing organic ingredients may display the brand name containing the word “organic” on the back of the package, the “Information panel.”

The policy clarification is intended to provide fairness and equity in label use throughout the organic industry and to satisfy consumer expectations for organic products.

Previously the NOP had reviewed use of the term “organic” in brand or company names on a case-by-case basis because they did not think the use inherently constituted a false or misleading claim of organic status.

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