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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the standards for every farm / unit that wants to sell an agricultural product as an organic product. This includes cultivation, harvest and all the processes involved.

The United States Department of Agriculture issues this certificate to products that are 100% organically grown or 95% of the ingredients come from certified organic sources. The remaining 5% do not come from organically grown sources, but must in no way endanger health or the environment.

The label shows that the criteria of the Organic Standard are met.

The USDA Organic Regulation is divided into four categories:

  • Crops: Pastures, cover crops, green manure crops, intermediate crops, or any plant or part of a plant that is marketed as an agricultural product, fed to animals, or used in the field to regulate nutrients and soil fertility.
  • Livestock: all cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry or equidae that are used as food or for the production of food, fibers, feed or other agricultural consumer goods; Wild animals or domesticated game or other non-vegetable forms of life, except that the term is not intended to include aquatic animals used in the manufacture of food, fiber, feed or other agricultural consumables.
  • Processed products: items that have been processed and packaged (e.g. sliced ​​carrots) or already processed and packaged (e.g. soups).
  • Wild plants: Plants or parts of a plant that are collected or harvested in a location that is not cultivated or used for agriculture. There is a three-year transition period for agricultural land that was previously used conventionally. On all areas where organic certified raw materials are to be grown, no substances prohibited for organic certification may have been used three years before. As long as this transition period has not been met:

Products may not be sold, labeled or displayed as “organic”; the quality mark may not be used.

For the transition period, USDA is offering technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Cosmetics can also be certified. Cosmetic items can be certified if they consist of ingredients of agricultural origin and these are certified.


Organic: The products or raw materials come from organic agriculture.

A distinction is made here between:

“100% organic”:

  • all ingredients must be certified organic (without water and salt);
  • all processing aids must be organic;
  • Labels must include the name of the certifier.


  • must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients (without water and salt);
  • the rest of the product ingredients must be organically grown, unless they are not commercially available as such or are on the national list;
  • Labels must include the name of the certifier.

“Made with organically produced ingredients or food groups”:

  • must contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients (without water and salt);
  • all other agricultural products do not have to be organically produced, but may not be produced using excluded processes;
  • Non-agricultural products must be specifically allowed by the National List;
  • Labels must include the name of the certifier.

 Social criteria are not included


Companies can only be certified by persons who have been accredited as certifiers by the minister.

At the beginning of a certification there is an initial inspection of every operating unit, facility and site on site that produces or processes organically produced products and that belongs to a company for which certification has been applied for. Then there is an annual on-site inspection.

A certifier can also carry out additional on-site inspections of applicants for certification and of certified companies in order to determine compliance with the law and the order. Additional control may also be required from the administrator or senior state official of the State organic program. These can be announced or unannounced at the discretion of the certifier or at the request of the administrator or senior official.