November 25th, 2009 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Organic Labels – What You Need to Know
Until recently, I was feeling a little rusty when it came to understanding the organic food labeling system, and certainly would not have wanted to be quizzed on the subject. I think it’s fair to assume that there are probably a good number of shoppers out there who feel the same way, and if you are new to shopping for organic foods, it could seem incredibly confusing. So, to get clear on the matter, I did a little bit of research. Figuring that I may not be the only one out there who’s a little rusty on the subject, I thought I would share my findings:
The USDA’s National Organic Program is in charge of regulating organic food products. Labels are not required to provide explanations on the package, so it’s vital to know and understand the labeling system if you want to be confident in your food purchases.
There are 4 different organic labels:
1) 100% Organic – this refers to foods that have only a single ingredient. Such foods include fruits, vegetables, milk, meats, cheese, etc. Any food that is 100% Organic can wear the USDA Organic Seal.
2) Organic – this label refers to foods that have more than one ingredient (packaged foods for example). To be labeled Organic, the ingredients in the product must be 95-100% organic by weight. Any food that is Organic can also wear the USDA Organic Seal.
3) Made with Organic Ingredients – this label refers to foods that have more than one ingredient of which 70% or more of the ingredients are organic. This label can be printed on the front of the package and actually list the ingredients, but it may not wear the USDA Organic Seal.
4) Contains Organic Ingredients – this label refers to foods that have less than 70% organic ingredients. This label, as well, cannot wear the USDA Organic Seal.
So they’re you have it. It’s really not too complicated once you read over it. But, without this valuable information, shopping for organic foods can be trickier than you would expect. It’s so important to be armed with information. As Francis Bacon once wrote “Knowledge is Power”.