U.S.D.A. requests 'made with organic' guidance

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — The Agricultural Marketing Service, which administers the National Organic Program, has published a draft guidance seeking input regarding food and beverage products labeled as “made with organic.” Processed products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients may be labeled “made with organic.” Along with the claim, the ingredients used must be labeled.

The draft guidance addresses the use of non-organic ingredients in “made with organic” products and clarifies the use of percentage statements under the “made with organic” labeling category. Ingredients derived from bioengineered organisms, sewage sludge or ionizing radiation may not feature the label. In addition, natural or synthetic ingredients or processing aids must be included on the N.O.P.’s list of approved ingredients or processes to qualify.

“This guidance is intended to ensure consistency across the organic food industry,” said Miles McEvoy, deputy administrator of the N.O.P. “For example, it answers questions about what ingredients may be used within the 30% non-organic portion of ‘made with organic’ products.”

The second portion of the draft guidance seeks to clarify the display of product composition and percentage statements on packaged products, and address whether percentage statements may be used when the per cent of the organic ingredients exceeds the product composition category.

The draft guidance may be viewed by visiting www.regulations.gov and searching for the file under document number AMS-NOP-10-0045. Comments are due by March 14, 2011 and may be filed electronically or sent 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.

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