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Organic Standards and the USDA Organic Seal

On October 21, 2002, USDA regulations went into effect governing the labeling of foods produced using organic agriculture. Food products that contain 95-100% certified organic ingredients may use the USDA Organic seal.

As promised by the USDA, the regulations:

  • Reflect National Organic Standards Board recommendations regarding which substances used in production and processing are allowed or prohibited
  • Prohibit the use of irradiation, sewage sludge, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic production
  • Prohibit antibiotic and synthetic hormone use in organic meat and poultry
  • Require 100% organic feed for organic livestock

What do national standards mean for consumers?

For consumers who want to minimize personal exposure to toxins and support humane and sustainable agricultural practices, the organic labeling laws are extremely important. Today, all agricultural products labeled "organic" have been verified by an accredited certification agency as meeting or exceeding USDA standards for organic production.