Organic Labeling

Studies show that a majority of the world’s consumers rely heavily on the use of a certified-organic seal on a package to assure them about a product’s organic certification. Let’s examine the various ways to implement organic standards on global organic product packaging.


In the United States

The United States relies on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to certify organic products distributed in the United States. USDA is the only U.S. federal government agency that standardizes and ensures the quality of organic products.

Currently, there are no separate standards for organic personal care products. However, there are a number of private groups attempting to define the term organic for the U.S. market.

Your product must comply with existing USDA regulations in order to display the USDA certified-organic seal on its packaging. This seal can only be used if products are certified as being made with 95-100% organic ingredients.

The seal itself can be placed anywhere on the product label. The seal’s trademark colors are green (PMS 348) and brown (PMS 175). See illustration #1.


In the Rest of the World

Product markets around the world use different certification systems to ensure products’ organic authenticity. Currently, the majority of organic certification systems are not regulated by government agencies, but rather, through independent organizations.

ECOCERT is one of the most recognized independent cosmetic certifiers. Primarily known for certifying food products, in 2003, the organization began certifying personal care products.

As demand for organic products has grown, so has ECOCERT. Based in Europe, ECOCERT conducts inspections in more than 80 countries and has subsidiaries in several major global markets, including Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, and Spain. Each market must follow a set of labeling requirements, and labels must be approved before a product can be granted certification. See illustration #2.


To Each Its Own

Organic certification requirements differ by market. For instance, in the United States, ECOCERT’s certification cannot be substituted for the one from USDA. Therefore, the markets in which your products are sold will determine which labeling regulations apply.

Credits: CPC Packaging, July/August 2008


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