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Organic Food Label Requirements. What You Need to Know

When consumers are in the grocery store deciding what to take home, they may check for organic food labels. These markings, part of the larger clean label movement, attest that items haven't been filled with preservatives or artificial ingredients. That's putting it simply, however. There are specific requirements brands have to clear before they can place various kinds of seals or promises on their packaging.

If you're a food producer considering marketing your goods as organic, it pays to study the rules and regulations closely. Organic food labeling is a complex and precise process and differs based on the type of recognition you're applying for:

USDA Organic

To be eligible the U.S. Department of Agriculture's seal, products have to eschew a number of production methods including genetic engineering, being exposed to ionizing radiation and the creation of sewage sludge. There is also a strict list of substances that are prohibited in these items. USDA agents have to certify that companies have been sticking to the lists of allowed ingredients and production techniques.

Non-GMO

The picture around whether products have been genetically modified us somewhat unclear. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug administration's comment period is now open for a new rule around the labeling of foods that don't contain bioengineered ingredients. This is the latest step in a years-long process toward establishing a national GMO labeling law.

'Natural'

Even words that are innocuous in conversation have very specific meanings when printed on food labels. Natural is such a term. The FDA sought input about the word in 2016, but it's unclear what the future of the rules may be, as the present Republican administration has expressed a preference for few new regulations.

Working with Lightning Labels

When your items qualify for organic food product labels, it's time for a packaging redesign that will show off the new status. Lightning Labels can become a key partner in this branding effort, delivering high-quality, all-digital printing on a variety of flexible and versatile materials.

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