Labeling and packaging
What packaging options do I have for my organic product(s)?
In general, you have a lot of options — and some clear restrictions — for packaging and labeling your organic product. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Packaging materials must not contain synthetic fungicides, preservatives, or fumigants
- Reused packaging must be sanitized and prevent contamination/residues
- Biodegradable packaging (e.g., Polylactic Acid or PLA) that is produced with corn starch, must be accompanied by a statement confirming it contains no GMO materials
What do I need to know about recordkeeping for packaging?
If you are receiving, packaging, and shipping products, you’ll need a plan in place to make sure the organic product you received is the same one that was packed, labeled and shipped as organic. This is often referred to as “product in, product out.” Your records will need to enable full traceability of each product and its ingredients.
#USDA National Organic Program
What information do I need to have on my organic label?
There is certain information all USDA National Organic Program (NOP) certified products must have on their labels:
- An ingredient statement (when the product has multiple ingredients)
- The name and address of the handler of the finished product
- The certification agent of the handler (“Certified organic by Oregon Tilth”) listed below the handler information
Where can I find the logos I need for my label?
What information can I choose to have on my label?
As an OTCO-certified organic processor or handler, you may use the USDA NOP organic seal as well as choose from a number of our logos. Please note that the Oregon Tilth logo may never be displayed more prominently than the USDA seal.
For other label claims, you’ll need to calculate your product’s percentage of organic content. Depending on your product’s percentage of organic content, you may (or may not) make certain organic claims on specific parts of your product label.
- 100% Organic = 100% organic ingredients
- Organic = 95% or more organic ingredients
- Made with Organic = 70% or more organic ingredients
Our Organic Labeling and Composition Guide provides a quick reference for all of your labeling questions, from bulk labeled single ingredient products to complicated multi-ingredient processed products.
Can I change the color, fonts or shape of the Oregon Tilth logo?
No modifications to the Oregon Tilth Certified Organic logo are allowed.
Can I use/print labels prior to approval?
We recommend submitting your labels to OTCO before you print them — even if the change was small. Printing an unapproved label could result in a costly reprinting and repackaging job. Selling products with unapproved labels could jeopardize your certification.
Once you have finalized your label composition, submit it to OTCO for review and approval.
#Oregon Tilth Certified Transitional
When can I use the Oregon Tilth Certified Transitional logo?
Use of the Oregon Tilth Certified Transitional logo on packaging is allowed for operations certified by our transitional program.
Can I use the word organic on my transitional label?
You may not use the word organic or the USDA organic seal with the Oregon Tilth Certified Transitional logo anywhere on your product’s principal display panel.
Can I change the color, fonts or shape of the transitional logo?
No modifications to the Oregon Tilth Certified Transitional logo are allowed.
Where can I download the Oregon Tilth Certified Transitional logo?
For international organic certification programs, products must follow rigorous production and labeling requirements. In addition to seal placement, mandatory ingredient information, font size, and organic claims, the labeling of your certified product depends upon the percentage of organic ingredients in your product.
If you plan to export your product internationally please let us know when submitting your labels and product composition information. This will allow us to pre-approve your product for export and will help avoid any delays when issuing a Certificate of Inspection for your product.
You’ll need to make sure your product meets all requirements for labeling and composition for the country you’re exporting to.
Where do I submit my label for review?
Once you have finalized your international organic label composition, submit it to OTCO for review and approval prior to use. It is important to receive approval from OTCO prior to printing or using new labels to avoid costly mistakes with reprinting or repackaging your organic products.
What’s required for labeling for the Canada Organic Regime (COR)?
The COR seal may only be used on products with 95-100 percent organic content. For eligible organic products, the seal must be displayed in accordance with Canadian Food Inspection Agency requirements. Check out our Canada Organic Labeling and Regulations Guide to learn about labeling COR-certified products.
Are there special labeling requirements for products exported to Canada?
When not in compliance with NOP requirements (labeled for Canada only), containers and shipping documents must be labeled “For Export Only.”
Are there special labeling requirements for product imports to Canada?
All products imported into Canada using the COR Seal must include the phrase “Imported”, “Imported From (country of origin)”, or “Product of (listed country of origin)” in close proximity to the COR seal. The required phrasing is required to be in close proximity in one instance to the seal, but may be used multiple times on the product display panel.
All imported products packaged and labeled in Canada — provided no processing steps that modify the nature of the product occur in Canada — must also include the required import designations (see above).
What’s required for labeling for the Mexico Organic Program (LPO)?
Labels for LPO-certified products must follow several requirements for each organic category. For a detailed listing for each category and full descriptions of how to use and place the SAGARPA organic seal, view our Organic and Labeling Composition Guide for Mexico Organic Regulations.
What’s required for labeling for the European Union (EU)?
Labels for EU Organic Program certified products must follow several requirements for each organic category. The European Commission offers details regarding use restrictions and high-resolution versions of the seal, in addition to a user manual. Additionally, you may review the requirements for each organic category in our Organic and Labeling Composition Guide for the EU.
OTCO does not review labels for the Food and Drug Administration or other domestic and international agencies with labeling requirements.