Back to News

USDA National Organic Program Instruction on Use of Brand or Company Names Containing the Word “Organic”

Published on

April 21, 2015

On August 14, 2014, the National Organic Program (NOP) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its “instruction” to the accredited certifying agents (Certifiers) that certify operations to the USDA organic regulations (7 CFR Part 205) created pursuant to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), as amended. The instruction directed that only agricultural products certified as “100% Organic” and “Organic” may utilize labeling including brand or company names that contain the word “Organic” or its variants anywhere on the product.  

In instances involving products which are certified as “Made with Organic (specified ingredients or food groups)”, a company name containing the term “Organic” may be displayed as the name of the manufacturer, packer or distributer and listed on the information panel as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Brand or company names containing the term “Organic” should not be used on the principal display panel for such products. The same rule is applicable with respect to uncertified agricultural products, even if the uncertified agricultural products contain certain organic ingredients. 

The instruction was provided to Certifiers in connection with their review of labeling. Certifiers are specifically directed to review the use of brand or company names to “determine the potential for consumers to be misled in regard to the composition and organic certification of agricultural products”. 

In footnote 3 of the instruction, the NOP also notes that in accordance with the OFPA, the NOP also has authority to regulate market information, such as web pages or print advertising that makes organic claims for agricultural products. The NOP notes that Certifiers typically do not review such market information, but instructs that if they do, the principals of the August 14, 2014 instruction should apply.

Thus, a company or brand name utilizing the term “Organic” or variants of the term may not be employed in such a fashion as to mislead consumers regarding the organic certification of the product which is being labeled and only 100% organic products are exempt from an inquiry as to whether the use of the corporate or brand name is misleading.

The instruction, NOP 4012, may be found on the USDA website at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5108680.


Related News

View More News
Newsletter
February 23, 2024

Barley Snyder 2023 Year In Review

Check out what the professionals of Barley Snyder have been up to in 2023 a...

Learn More
Press Release
February 22, 2024

Barley Snyder Partner Jeremy Frey Admitted to Practice in Maryland

For Immediate Release  Hanover, Pa. – Barley Snyder is pleased ...

Learn More
Press Release
February 13, 2024

Barley Snyder Attorney Natalie Alexander Admitted to Adams County Bar Association

For Immediate Release Gettysburg, Pa. – Barley Snyder is pleased to annou...

Learn More

Other Upcoming Events

View All Upcoming Events
Mar
20
12:00 pm
-
6:00 pm
event
Location

LendiCon 2024

Learn More
May
10
8:00 am
-
5:00 pm
event
Location

41st Annual Employment Law Seminar

Learn More

Get in Touch

Our attorneys, paralegals and staff look forward to hearing from you. Please reach out to let us know how we can help.

Get In Touch
RECOGNIZED IN
Super Lawyers
Best Law Firms US News
Best Lawyers