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In response to a need to standardize the use of such terms as organic and natural, the U.S. Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of
According to regulations set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic foods must come from farms or ranches certified by a state or private agency that has been accredited by the USDA. Foods labeled "100 percent organic" must contain only organically produced ingredients, excluding water and salt. Foods labeled "organic" must contain, by weight, at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients. Products meeting these requirements must display these terms on their principal display panel and may use the USDA seal and the seal or mark of certifying agents on packages and in advertisements. Foods labeled "made with organic ingredients" must contain, by weight, at least 70 percent organic ingredients. Up to three separate organic ingredients may be listed on the principal display label, and a certifying agent's seal or mark may be used on the package. The use of a USDA seal is prohibited, however. Livestock can be certified "organic" if they have been raised on organic foodstuffs for over one year.
Other labeling provisions include:
Over ninety private organizations and state agencies (certifying agents) currently accredit farms that produce organic food, but standards for growing and labeling organic food may differ. For example, different agencies may permit or prohibit the use of specific natural pesticides or fertilizers in growing organic food. In addition, some of the language contained on seals, labels, and logos approved by organic certifiers may differ.
Author Info: M. Elizabeth Kunkel, Barbara H. D. Luccia, The Gale Group Inc., Macmillan Reference USA, New York, Gale Nutrition and Well-Being A to Z, 2004This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
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