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What does "Certified Organic" and "USDA Organic" mean?

Products are certified organic under the National Organic Program standards and proudly display the “USDA Organic” seal.

These stringent standards put in place a system to certify that specific practices are used to produce and process organic agricultural ingredients used for food and non-food purposes. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organic products are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the product.

National organic standards require that organic growers and handlers be certified by third-party state or private agencies or other organizations that are accredited by USDA. Anyone who knowingly sells or mislabels as organic a product that was not produced and handled in accordance with the regulations can be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.

Consumers can look for the “USDA Organic” seal and for the name of the certifier on the label of the products they consider for purchase. Products labeled “100% Organic” and carrying the “USDA Organic” seal are just that – they contain all organically produced ingredients. Products that are made from at least 95% organic ingredients, and have remaining ingredients that are approved for use in organic products may also carry the “USDA Organic” seal.

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