O is for Organic

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Randi Karlinsky MS, RDN, LDN, CHC, NASM-CPT

The question about whether we should all be eating organic or not has become a very common topic of discussion these days. When it comes to consuming organic foods, it is important to understand the labeling practices these products undergo in order to communicate these details to the consumer. The following are three examples of organic labeling used on food packaging.


“100%” Organic” – 100% of the ingredients are organic and must be identified as such under the ingredients listed on the label (i.e. organic apples, organic sugar, organic salt, etc.). Look for the USDA seal or claim on the package to confirm.

“Organic” – This product contains a minimum of 95% organic ingredients and can have up to 5% nonorganic ingredients including agricultural products that may not be available in organic. The organic ingredients must be listed as such on the label. Look for the USDA seal or claim on the package to confirm.

“Made with Organic ____” – This product must only contain at least 70% certified organic ingredients and the remaining agricultural products must be allowed on the National List. This type of label does not have a USDA seal and the identified ingredient(s) must be labeled under ingredients.

As you can see, the term organic is not as clear and concise as we would have hoped. The question of whether to consume organic foods or not is a personal choice of which many factors may play a role in making. If you are interested or curious about what those factors might be, reach out to your Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for assistance. They have the expertise necessary to help you reach the right decision for you and your lifestyle.

For more information on the USDA’s organic labeling practices, visit the USDA’s website or the link below.

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