What Does the USDA Organic Seal Mean?

Take a look at any Inspired Organics organic product—cereals, dressings, seeds and nuts, oils, sweeteners, fruits and vegetables, snacks, pastas, sweet treats, broths—and you’ll notice several things across the lineup: the iO logo; colorful, easy-to-read packaging; and a round green, brown,and white black & white seal that’s becoming more and more visible in grocery aisles, the USDA Organic Seal.

In 1990 Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act, requiring the United States Department of Agriculture to create national standards for organic products (NOP). The final rule establishing the NOP was first published in the Federal Register in 2000. The USDA Organic Seal is the final stamp of approval in the certification process for any business directly involved in food production. This includes seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers, and restaurants.

To be certified organic, food must be produced and handled in specific ways within four key areas: 1) soil quality, 2) animal raising practices, 3) pest and weed control, and 4) use of additives.

In terms of soil quality, the soil must be free from prohibited substances for three years before harvesting. It must also be free from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Animals must have natural living conditions—grazing for cows, free-ranging for chickens, for example. They must be fed 100 percent organic feed, and they can’t be given antibiotics or hormones.

Farming methods  must be physical, mechanical, or biologically based. Man-made herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides are not allowed; neither are genetically modified seeds or food. And when processing these products, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors cannot be used, with the exception of enzymes for yogurt, pectin for jam, or baking soda for some baked goods.

Producing, handling, and labeling—there are four separate categories for labeling certified organic food products: 100% Organic, Organic, Made with organic, and specific organic ingredientsorganic foods requires verification at each step to ensure that certification standards are being upheld.

Be confident that when you see a food product with the Inspired Organics logo and the USDA Organic Seal on our distinctive packages, it complies with all NOP requirements.