Claim "Certified Organic By... Certifying Entity" on Meat and
Poultry Product Labeling
This updates the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
Backgrounder of 1999 for the use of the claim
"Certified Organic By... (Certifying Entity)" on meat and poultry product labeling
National organic standards under the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) became effective on April 21, 2001. On this effective date, State
and private entities began applying for accreditation to
become certifying agents under the National standards. On
or about April 21, 2002, the NOP will release a list of certifying
agents that have been accredited under the National standards.
Upon announcement of accredited certifying agents, the labeling
provisions of the National standards will supersede the claim
"Certified Organic By... (Certifying Entity)" for meat and poultry
produced and handled by operations certified under the National standards.
From the announcement of accredited certifying agents (on or about April 21,
2002) through October 21, 2002, FSIS will evaluate labels bearing the term
"organic" under a dual system. During the six month timeframe, product labels
with the claim "Certified Organic By... (Certifying Entity)" may continue to be
submitted for evaluation and approval. Labels from companies whose production
and handling operations are certified by a certifying agent accredited under the
National standards and included on the NOP's list of accredited certifying
agents, may submit labels for FSIS evaluation using the claim "organic." While
such labels may receive FSIS approval, in accordance with the National
standards, they will not be able to use the USDA organic seal until October 21,
2002, when the AMS final rule is fully implemented. Companies that continue to
use "Certified Organic By.... (Certifying Entity)" claim will be expected to
deplete their label supply by October 21, 2002, and comply with the National
standards by that date.
The National standards do not expressly prohibit use of the word "organic" in
company names or logos (e.g., signature lines) but does prohibit misuses of the
word "organic." FSIS policies will continue to allow the word "organic" on a
label as part of the manufacturer's name in the signature line (e.g., Nebraska
Organic Beef Company), in a inconspicuous and non-misleading manner.