January 18, 2011
On Thursday, January 13th, the National Organic Program (NOP), administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), published draft guidance on “made with organic” product labeling. The guidance appears in the Federal Register and is open for public comment for the next two months.
The document clarifies the acceptable wording for labels on products containing at least 70 percent organically produced raw or processed agricultural ingredients. Processed products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients can be labeled “made with organic [specified ingredients or food group(s)].” For example, soup made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients and only organic vegetables may be labeled “soup made with organic vegetables.”
In “made with organic” products, non-organic ingredients must not have been produced using NOP-excluded methods, including genetic modification or sewage sludge, and must not have been processed using irradiation.
The labels ‘‘made with organic ingredients,’’ or ‘‘made with X% organic ingredients,’’ do not comply with the draft guidance; acceptable formats include “made with organic [specified ingredients]” or “made with organic [specified food groups].” Any statement such as ‘‘X% Organic’’ or ‘‘Contains X% Organic Ingredients’’ must be followed with a proper “made with organic” statement.
For more information, read the full draft guidance here. Final guidance will be published in NOP’s Program Handbook for organic certifying agents and operations; the current edition of the Program Handbook can be found here.
NOP invites organic producers, handlers, certifying agents, consumers and other interested parties to submit comments about the guidance provisions. Comments can be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov through March 13, 2011.