Agricultural Marketing Service
About AMS Newsroom Opportunity Online Forms Help Contact Us
 
 
Search AMS
   Browse by Subject
 
You are here: Home
 
National Organic Program
 
Organic Labeling  

USDA organic products have strict production and labeling requirements. Unless noted below, organic products must meet the following requirements:

Labeling Organic Products Fact Sheet | Labeling Training Module | USDA Organic Labeling Regulations

Can a product be labeled “organic” without being certified?

Overall, if you make a product and want to claim that it or its ingredients are organic, your final product probably needs to be certified. If you are not certified, you must not make any organic claim on the principal display panel or use the USDA organic seal anywhere on the package*. You may only, on the information panel, identify the certified organic ingredients as organic and the percentage of organic ingredients.

*Some operations are exempt from certification, including organic farmers who sell $5,000 or less.

Who Needs to Be Certified? | Overview: Getting Certified

An overview of labeling the various categories of organic products is provided below.

Principal display panel: portion of the package most likely to be seen by customers at the time of purchase. Your certifying agent will review and approve each of your product labels to ensure compliance.

Information panel: includes includes ingredient statement (list of ingredients contained in a product, from highest to lowest percentage of final product) and other product information.


100 Percent Organic
Raw or processed agricultural products in the “100 percent certified organic” category must meet these criteria:

  • All ingredients must be certified organic.
  • Any processing aids must be organic.
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.

Principal display panel: May include USDA organic seal and/or 100 percent organic claim.

Information Panel: Must identify organic ingredients (e.g., organic dill) or via asterisk or other mark.


Organic
Raw or processed agricultural products in the “organic” category must meet these criteria:

  • All agricultural ingredients must be certified organic, except where specified on National List.
  • Non-organic ingredients allowed per National List may be used, up to a combined total of five percent of non-organic content (excluding salt and water).
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.

Principal display panel: May include USDA organic seal and/or organic claim.

Information Panel: Must identify organic ingredients (e.g., organic dill) or via asterisk or other mark.


“Made with organic”
Multi-ingredient agricultural products in the “made with” category ust meet these criteria:

  • At least 70 percent of the product must be certified organic ingredients (excluding salt and water).
  • Any remaining agricultural products are not required to be organically produced but must be produced without excluded methods (see page 1).
  • Non-agricultural products must be specifically allowed on the National List.
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.

Principal display panel: May state “made with organic (insert up to three ingredients or ingredient categories).” Must not include USDA organic seal anywhere, represent finished product as organic, or state “made with organic ingredients.”

Information Panel: Must identify organic ingredients (e.g., organic dill) or via asterisk or other mark.

Specific organic ingredients
Multi-ingredient agricultural products that contain less than 70 percent certified organic content (excluding salt and water) don’t need to be certified. Any non-certified product:

Principal display panel: Must not include USDA organic seal anywhere or the word “organic” on principal display panel.

Information Panel: May only list certified organic ingredients as organic in the ingredient list and the percentage of organic ingredients. Remaining ingredients are not required to follow the USDA organic regulations.

Alcohol
In addition to the USDA organic requirements, alcoholic beverages must meet the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations, including sulfite labeling requirements. Any use of added sulfites means that the wine is only eligible for the “made with” labeling category and may not use the USDA organic seal. Please note that sulfites may only be added to wine “made with” organic grapes; wine labeled as “made with” other organic fruit (e.g., apples) may not contain added sulfites. Organic alcohol labels must be reviewed by a certifying agent and the TTB.
Alcohol Beverages Labeled with Organic Claims (TTB)
Memorandum of Understanding: USDA AMS & TTB

Textiles
If the finished product is certified organic and produced in full compliance with the USDA organic regulations, the entire product may be labeled certified organic and display the USDA organic seal.

If all instances of specific fibers in the finished product are certified organic, the label may claim the specific fibers are organic and state the percentage of organic fibers.* Textiles that meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) may be sold as organic in the U.S.*

*Unless the finished product is certified to the USDA organic regulations, product labels may not state or imply that the finished product is USDA organic or use the USDA organic seal.
View Policy Memo

Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
Please review the labeling guidelines for cosmetics and personal care products in the NOP fact sheet. View Fact Sheet

Aquaculture, Honey, Mushrooms, and Pet Food
The National Organic Program in the process of developing practice standards in these areas. Specific labeling guidance will be detailed after these standards are implemented.


 
Receive NOP updates
 
  Be an Organic Insider!  
 
NOP Finder
 
  Consumer Information  
 
  Organic Standards  
 
  National Organic Standards Board  
 
  Organic Certification & Accreditation  
 
  Compliance and Enforcement  
 
Information For
 
  Organic Operations  
 
  Certifying Agents  
 
  State Organic Program  
 
  International Trade Partners  
 
General Information
 
  USDA Organic Seal  
 
  USDA Organic Regulations  
 
  NOP Program Handbook  
 
  Organic Labeling  
 
 
  Last Modified Date: 12/05/2012