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Organic/Natural Regulations: Reader Follow-Up Questions

Posted: April 16, 2007

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Walden: 100% = all ingredients must be certified 100% organic. Under this classification, there can be no nonorganic ingredients in the product and all multi-ingredient ingredients must be certified at the 100% claim. All processing aids must at least be organic (95%). So, any FEMA GRAS approved ingredients must also be certified 100% organic.

95% = at least 95% of the ingredients must be organic and the remaining ingredients must be on the NOPs National List, 205.605 and 205.606. Any FEMA GRAS approved ingredients must either be organically certified, listed on the National List, or be classed as a natural flavor that meets the NOPs requirements.

70% = at least 70% of the ingredients must be organic and the remaining ingredients must be on the NOPs National List, 205.605, or must be approved agricultural ingredients. Any FEMA GRAS approved ingredients must either be listed on the National List, 205.605, be classed as a natural flavor that meets the NOPs requirements, be organically certified, or be “agricultural” and produced without GMOs, irradiation or sewage sludge.

Reader Question 5: If I use a peppermint oil that has been specially distilled, which creates specific flavor characters that no one else has, can I use it as an organic ingredient?

Walden: You can’t use the peppermint oil as an organic ingredient unless it has been organically produced and organically processed (example, organically grown and certified peppermint that is distilled in an organically-certified facility). However, since this ingredient meets the FDA Natural Flavor definition, you can use it in an “organic” (at least 95% organic ingredients) and a “made with organic” (at least 70% organic ingredients) product as long as it meets the NOPs restriction regarding synthetic solvents, carriers and preservatives. Nonorganic peppermint oil may not be used in a product making a 100% organic claim.

1Please note, all ingredients used in “organic” and “made with organic” products cannot be produced with genetically modified organisms and irradiation.
2This definition is currently under review by the National Organic Standards Board.