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Organic-Food Labels


Topic Overview

USDA Organic food seal.Image of the organic-food seal adapted from the USDA National Organic Program. Available online: http://www.ams.usda.gov/

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed labeling rules for organic foods. A seal and the word "organic" can be displayed on organic foods. This use is voluntary, so some organic foods may not be labeled as such.

Single-ingredient foods. The word "organic" and the seal may appear on fruits and vegetables and on packages of meat, cartons of milk or eggs, cheese, and other single-ingredient foods that are grown or raised organically.

Multi-ingredient foods. All ingredients or some of the ingredients in a food may be organic. Look for the following:

  • If all ingredients are organic, the seal and "100% organic" are displayed.
  • If 95% to 100% of the ingredients are organic, the seal and "organic" are displayed. Any remaining ingredients must consist of approved nonagricultural substances or nonorganically produced agricultural products.
  • If at least 70% of the ingredients are organic, the seal is not displayed, but the package may say "made with organic ingredients."
  • If less than 70% of the ingredients are organic, no organic claims can be made, but specific organically produced ingredients may be listed on the side panel of the package.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last RevisedFebruary 4, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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