USDA Certified Organic foods and farms cannot use most synthetic or petroleum derived pesticides and fertilizers, any irradiation, or sewage sludge. No genetic engineering is allowed. Organic farmers use crop rotation, tilling and natural fertilizers, such as compost.
A USDA-accredited certifier verifies that a farmer or producer meets the standards of the USDA National Organic Program.
Types of Organic Labels
Only USDA certified organic foods may have the word Organic in the product name.
Organic Meat and Dairy
Organically raised cattle must be fed 100% organic feed, free of any antibiotics (even for therapeutic use), hormones, and animal byproducts. The animals must have access to the outdoors.
Organic Poultry and Eggs
Organically raised chickens must be fed 100% organic feed, free of any antibiotics (even for therapeutic use), hormones, and animal byproducts. The animals must have access to the outdoors; however, this standard is not as strict for chickens as it is for other animals. Organic chickens may live in confinement.
"100% Organic" and "Organic" wines cannot use added sulfites in production, and wine is tested to ensure that the wine contains no more than 10ppm of sulfites.
Organic wines must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients, not including water or salt.
"Made with Organic Ingredients" wine must contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients and they may contain added sulfites. These wines cannot display the USDA Organic seal, but may show the seal of the USDA-accredited certifying agency that certified the ingredients.