The Certified Organic Seals Most Sought After Worldwide

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Using “Made with Organic” VS USDA Certified Organic Seal

Organic claims are highly regulated and many of the NOP’s decisions around giving these claims to food and beverage companies are based on the percent organic your product is.  Water and salt are not considered ingredients when calculating percent organic, but gases such as nitrogen and CO2 are included. Using both “Made with Organic” or the USDA Certified Organic seal options require your product to be produced in a USDA Certified Organic facility. Below is a broad overview of these two methods for identifying your product as organic to the consumer.

“Made with Organic”

  • To use “Made with Organic” on your label, the product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
  • The label may not use the USDA Certified Organic seal. The only organic related labeling allowed for this approach are:
    • Listing all organic ingredients as organic in the ingredients statement.Using a symbol similar to the USDA Certified Organ
    • Using a symbol similar to the USDA Certified Organic seal with the following text inside: “MADE WITH ORGANIC __________” with up to 3 organic ingredients listed. Slight variations are allowed. See example to the right. All fonts and texts within this symbol must the same. This text must also be half the size or smaller of the largest text within that label panel.
  • The label must include “Certified Organic By ________” with the certifying agent’s name.

USDA Certified Organic Seal

  • If your product is comprised of 95-100% organic ingredient, the USDA Certified Organic symbol can be used along with claims such as “made with organic ingredients.” Slight variations on this wording is allowed. 
  • If your product is comprised of 100% organic ingredient, the USDA symbol can be used and you can claim “100% Organic” on your label including slight variations.  In addition, the term “organic” can be used within reason on other aspects of the label.

This information is only a brief overview of organic claims and certification. It is recommended that you speak with an expert to ensure your product and label is compliant.

For more information check out:

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended to convey general information regarding beverage regulations and compliance. It does not constitute legal advice. This is for informational purposes only, and we strongly encourage you to seek independent legal counsel for advice on specific legal issues.

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What Products Can Wear the USDA Organic Seal?

Any product certified to USDA organic standards is allowed to wear the USDA Organic Seal, including food, clothing, and personal care products.

The National Organic Program (NOP) has official labeling requirements, but these only apply to agricultural ingredients. So while a food processor may face trouble for mislabeling cereal, an essential oil manufacturer would not because the USDA certifies but does not regulate personal care items such as essential oils.

USA

If you are a beauty brand owner looking to certify in the USA, you need to know about a few important organizations:

  1. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), which regulates organic claims for foods and offers a seal/logo to those who meet its requirements.
  2. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), which regulates labeling for cosmetics.
  3. The NOP (National Organic Program), which regulates and certifies organic foods.

Cosmetic products labeled with organic claims must comply with both USDA regulations for the organic claim and FDA for the labeling. The NOP does not regulate ‘organic’ label claims of beauty/personal care products, except when those businesses voluntarily opt to meet organic food standards, gain NOP certification, and use the USDA Organic seal.

What this means in practice is that some organic beauty products are regulated, certified and labeled through the USDA NOP and follow the same certification standards and labeling guidelines as organic food. Some organic beauty products are certified to independent standards with third-party verification of their ingredients and processing methods (for example, Ecocert, see above).

If you wish to certify through the USDA NOP you will need to choose your certifying body. Here is a list, searchable by location:

Other organic certification bodies exist around the world, such as BDIH for Germany, and Australia Certified Organic.

Organic certification bodies for skincare and cosmetics

There are several different main certification bodies around the world, each with different requirements to meet their approval.  Below is a summary of the key organic certification bodies.

What About Products With Less Than 70% Organic Ingredients?

Food products that contain less than 70% organic ingredients do not qualify for organic labeling. Such products can contain any level of organic ingredients and there are zero restrictions on other ingredients, although they can list organic ingredients in the ingredients section.

For example, "Organic oats, milk, eggs, flour, and organic raisins" is allowed but "Made With" organic ingredients is not.

Organic Livestock Are Not Given Growth Hormones or Antibiotics

Conventional livestock are injected with growth hormones and are fed antibiotics. Combining these factors with the insane living conditions animals suffer on factory farms makes meat in America the worst meat you could ever consume.

Overuse of  antibiotics leaves us with:

  • Antibiotic resistant meat
  • Antibiotics in rivers and drinking water
  • Antibiotic resistant pork farmers and consumers

Medications are even used on animals to prevent sickness, and it is readily absorbed. When we eat meat containing antibiotics, growth hormones, and medication, we are essentially eating those things which are in the meat. In addition, the milk produced by cows also contain these, and then we consume the same things when we drink the milk. But it doesn’t end there. The growth hormones wash of ranch land and into rivers and streams, causing adverse effects on the reproductive systems of fish.

Growth hormones given to the animals cause all types of problems for humans as well. The use of these hormones has been shown to disrupt hormone balance, causing:

  • Developmental problems
  • Interference with the reproductive system
  • Breast, prostate, and colon cancer

Due to major health concerns for animals and humans, the European Union banned the use of growth hormones in beef cattle. Japan, Canada, and Australia have all banned the use of rBGH. But the hormones are still given in the United States… The EU won’t even accept meat from us.

So why? Why, despite all of this, does the US insist on continuing with these methods of “care”? The answer is only 1 word, which everyone probably knows.

Profits

It is painfully obvious that factory farms don’t care about animals, and are focused on profits more than anything.

  • The faster an animal gets fat, the closer it is to slaughter. More animals slaughtered at faster rates = more profits. Tool to hasten this process and attain massive profits = growth hormones.
  • The more milk an animal produces, the faster it can be sold for profits. Tool to hasten this process and attain massive profits = bovine growth hormones (rBGH)
  • Animals are fed huge amounts of antibiotics that they do not need. If one animal gets sick, the entire herd gets medicated. The outcome is antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and heavily medicated animals which we consume. The practice of medicating animals has been banned in the EU and Canada, because it is unknown what other effects the medications have, and why.
  • One glass of pasteurized milk can contain a combination of 20 painkillers, antibiotics, and growth hormones

The practice isn’t healthy for animals, humans, the environment and economy, or the world as a whole.

Organic Food Prohibits the Use of Pesticides

Pesticides accumulate in fat deposits in the body and cause damage over time. It is important to know that pesticides can be passed on. Mother’s who ingest pesticides through “contaminated” fruits and vegetables pass it on to their unborn child. Similarly, a child consuming breast milk will also consume an indefinite amount of pesticides based on the mother.

The effects can be detrimental, especially when combined with all of the other chemicals ingested from consuming conventional food.

Farmers growing organic crops are not allowed to use any pesticides. There still may be, however, a small amount of pesticide residue found on organic crops due to outside sources. You’ll be happy to know that this pesticide residue level can not exceed levels greater than 5%. But this still calls for an end to pesticide use, and here’s why. The cost of pesticide use is as follows:

  • Carcinogenicity
  • Immune system suppression
  • Miscarriages
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Male infertility & inhibited reproductive function
  • Disruption of the endocrine system
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Adversely affected nervous system
  • Massive pollution & environmental decay

All of these things occur with pesticide use at the cost of what? Ironically, studies show that only 0.1% of any applied pesticide ever reaches the target pest. Yes, 99.9% of many pesticides actually turn into an unintended pollutant in the environment.

The Environmental Working Group has their own 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, that we recommend you check out. According to there analysis, here are the top 10 produce which contain the least amount of pesticides:

  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet pears – frozen
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe – domestic
  • Kiwi

The Environmental Working Group also says that consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% simply by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the cleanest. If people ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies that were especially contaminated, an average of 10 pesticides could be consumed daily.

Lots More Information

More Great Links

SourcesCalifornia Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF): Organic Certification, Trade Association, Education & Outreach, Political Advocacy. http:/// Canfield, Clarke. "Organic beer sales grow, Anheuser-Busch enters market." Associated Press. 2006. http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2006/07/09/ ­organic_beer_sales_grow_anheuser_busch_enters_market/ "Clearing up the confusion about organic wine." Organic Consumers Association. Hoye, Sue. "Eating out organic, a new challenge for natural food connoisseurs." CNN.com In-Depth Specials. 2000. Kuepper, George. "Organic Farm Certification & the National Organic Program." ATTRA: National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. 2002. "Labeling Alcohol Beverage Containers." Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. 2002. "Labeling Packaged Products Under the National Organic Program." Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. 2003. McRandle, P.W. "Organic beer." National Geographic, the Green Guide. 2006. National Organic Program, USDA. http://s.usda.gov/nop/indexIE.htm "Notice of Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program." Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. 2006. Organic Certifiers Database. The New Farm, Farmer-to-Farmer Know-How from The Rodale Institute. 2007. "U.S. Organic Standards." Organic Trade Association. 2006. Warner, Melanie. "What is Organic? Powerful Players Want a Say." New York Times. 2005.

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