GLENWILLOW, Ohio – The first 60 products to be stocked in US stores bearing the new USDA BioPreferred label for certified biobased products were unveiled March 31 by Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. The new label designates biobased products composed wholly or significantly of agricultural ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials.

According to the USDA, this new label indicates the product has been independently certified to meet the agency’s BioPreferred program standards for biobased content.

Biobased products help add value to commodities, create jobs in rural communities, increase US energy independence by reducing the use of petroleum in manufactured products and may also reduce the introduction of fossil carbon into the atmosphere, thus mitigating potential climate change impacts, she said.

"When consumers see the BioPreferred label in a store, they'll know that the product or its packaging is made from renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials," Merrigan added. "From bioplastics to plant-based cleaners, from industrial lubricants and construction products to personal care items, this ever-growing list of biobased products helps create jobs in rural communities by adding value to agricultural commodities and can reduce our dependence on imported oil."

She announced the new label during a biobased product meeting held at Hoover Inc. in Glenwillow, Ohio. Several of the BioPreferred labeled products unveiled today include hand soaps and hand sanitizers, plant-based plastic food packaging used to package fresh food, an array of biobased cleaning products, engine oils and lubricants, as well as biobased fiber spun into carpet and clothes.

Companies recognized for their work regarding this label include: Nutek Green, a division of Hoover Inc., (Glenwillow, Ohio); Seventh Generation (Burlington, Vt.); Betco Corp. (Toledo, Ohio); Clear Lam Packaging, Inc. (Elk Grove Village, Ill.); DuPont Corporation (Wilmington, Del.); ElastiKote (Akron, Ohio); Green Earth Technologies (Celebration, Fla.); National Industries for the Blind Agencies (Lighthouse for the Blind, St. Louis, Mo, and Travis Association for the Blind, Austin, Texas); NatureWorks LLC (Minnetonka, Minn.); Rochester Midland Corporation (Rochester, NY); and Bio-Lub Canada, (Quebec, Canada).

In January, USDA launched voluntary biobased product certification and labeling. To date, 100 companies have submitted applications for about 400 products for certification.

Thanks to implanting the BioPreferred program, USDA has identified 5,100 biobased products for preferred purchasing by federal agencies. The new label will make identification of these products easier for federal buyers and will increase awareness of these high-value products for consumers. USDA estimates that there are 20,000 biobased products currently being manufactured in the United States.

USDA's BioPreferred program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill to increase the purchase and use of biobased products within the federal government and the commercial market. Congress reauthorized and strengthened the program in the 2008 Farm Bill to further promote the sale of biobased products.

USDA's BioPreferred program is comprised of two parts: a biobased product procurement preference program for federal agencies and a voluntary labeling initiative for the broad-scale marketing of biobased products. For more information,