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Deciphering Organic, Part 2

By: Leslie Lyon and Marilyn Patterson
Posted: February 24, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 3 of 5

In the United States and Canada, this is the strictest certification of organic and until recently, only pertained to food. The following list is not exhaustive.

1. USDA Organic. In the United States, the most recognizable logo is USDA Organic. It is the strictest of organic standards because it really is a food standard, requiring at least 95% organic content in order to use the logo. It disallows synthetic preservatives and most chemical ingredient processing. There are four categories of organic under the USDA.

100% organic. Excluding water and salt, the product must contain only organically produced ingredients. Products may display the USDA organic seal, as well as the certifying agent’s name and address.

Organic. The product must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients, excluding water and salt. Remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances that are approved on the NOP list, or nonorganically produced agricultural products, not commercially available in organic form, also on the NOP list. Products may display the USDA organic seal and must display the certifying agent’s name and address.

Made with organic ingredients. Products contain at least 70% organic ingredients, and the product label can list up to three of the organic ingredients or “food” groups on the principal display panel. For example, body lotion made with at least 70% organic ingredients, excluding water and salt, and only organic herbs may be labeled either “body lotion made with organic lavender, rosemary and chamomile” or “body lotion made with organic herbs.” Products may not display the USDA organic seal and must display the certifying agent’s name and address.