Who's behind it:
The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) (ams.usda.gov).
What it means:
*Prohibits the use of GMOs, most conventional pesticides and herbicides, sewage sludge, antibiotics, growth hormones, and irradiation.
*Organic producers record procedures and maintain cropland free of prohibited substances for three years before earning the seal, which varies in price based on the certifier.
*The seal is permitted on commodities that are 100 percent organic or made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. The USDA’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances identifies synthetic substances that may be used and nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used in organic production and handling operations.
* For meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs to be USDA Certified Organic, animals must have been fed 100 percent organic feed; never given growth hormones or antibiotics; and not have been routinely confined. However, the NOP does not police animal treatment. Cloned animals or their offspring also cannot qualify for the seal.
Look for it on:
Produce, dairy, eggs, beef, poultry, organic body care products comprised of plant ingredients, wine, and processed or packaged foods.