Addendum - Using the Claim "Certified Organic By... Certifying Entity" on Meat and Poultry Product Labeling
The guidance contains information regarding under what circumstances the Agency may permit on the label of a meat or poultry product a factual statement that the product has been "certified organic by (a certifying entity)." It applies to applicants and actions they may take when preparing requests for labeling bearing the claim certified organic by (a certifying entity) claim. It relates to 9 CFR 412.1.
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.