USDA issues organic labeling guidance

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – A draft guidance has been issued by the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service for the organic industry to address the labeling, composition and use percentage statements in "made with organic (specified ingredients or food groups)" products, the American Meat Institute relays.

Products within the "made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))" labeling category must contain at least 70% certified organic agricultural products, according to the guidance. The remaining 30% may include agricultural ingredients that are conventionally produced. These ingredients must not have been produced using excluded methods (e.g. genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation) but may be produced using synthetic substances not appearing on the National List in Sec. 205.605 of the Natural Organic Program (NOP) regulations and synthetic ingredients or processing aids that are listed within Sec. 205.605.

Regarding percentage statements, the rule states the "made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)" statement is essential to clarify the product category and may be used without the percentage statement. If used, a percentage statement must be accompanied by the statement, "made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))'" when displayed on packages of products in this category, which are described in Sec. 205.301(c).

AMI points out the correct formats for "made with organic" statements are: "made with organic (specified ingredients); or (specified food groups),'" provided that the statement does not list more than three organically produced ingredients or food groups.

A claim of "100% organic" should only be used for products that qualify under Sec. 205.301(a). The `"100% organic" claim refers to a particular labeling category within the NOP regulations and should not be used in combination with other NOP labeling categories.

Comments on this draft guidance may be submitted on or before March 14. Submit comments online at: http://www.regulations.gov/ or by mail to Toni Strother, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS- NOP, Room 2646-So., Ag Stop 0268, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-0268. Written comments responding to this request should be identified with the document number AMS-NOP-10-0045; NOP-10-03.

To read the Federal Notice on the draft guidance, visit: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-01-13/html/2011-573.htm.
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