usda-iconBeginning with organic seeds, a crop must use earth-friendly methods that conserve the quality of the soil and water and discourage erosion while encouraging true sustainable land use that naturally supports the biodiversity that makes the ecosystems of earth work together.

Many products don’t begin to meet this standard. In addition, to classify as organic, the farmland must have had three years with zero use of non-organic fertilizers or pesticides before a crop can begin to meet the USDA standard. Even then such marginal items as chemically treated fence posts cannot be used close to an organic field without a barrier to prevent harmful chemicals leeching into the crop-producing soil.

So, what do all the different terms on a label mean? The USDA has very specific standards it applies to what may (or may not) be called “100% Organic”:

100% ORGANIC:

  1. All organic ingredients
  2. Any processing aids must be organic
  3. No non-organic ingredients used
  4. USDA seal allowed
  5. Must List certifying agent

ORGANIC:

  1. At Least 95% organic ingredients
  2. Remaining 5% can be non-organic allowed ingredients (i.e. Vitamins, Citric Acid, Baking Powder)
  3. All agricultural ingredients must be organic unless not available
  4. USDA seal allowed
  5. Must list certification agent

MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS:

  1. At least 70% organic ingredients
  2. Remaining 30% can be non-organic allowed ingredients (i.e.Capsule Material, Vitamins, Citric Acid, Baking Powder) or non-organic agricultural ingredients
  3. USDA seal prohibited
  4. Must list certification agent

Products With Less Than 70% Organic Ingredients:

  1. Any level of organic ingredients
  2. Any restrictions on remaining ingredients
  3. No certification claims can be made
  4. USDA seal prohibited Only mention of organic in ingredient listing