USDA organic products have strict production and labeling requirements. Organic products must meet the following requirements:
- Produced without excluded methods, (e.g., genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge). Policy on genetically modified organisms (pdf)
- Produced using allowed substances. View the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
- Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic 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.
Alcohol Beverage Labeling Guidelines
- Wine with organic references (pdf)
- Malt beverages with organic references (pdf)
- Distilled spirits with organic references (pdf)
Aquaculture, Honey, Mushrooms, and Pet Food
The National Organic Program is in the process of developing practice standards in these areas. Specific labeling guidance will be detailed after these standards are implemented. Honey, mushrooms, and pet food may be certified to the current production and handling standards. Certification of aquatic animals will not be available until new standards are complete.