The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.

Any product labeled as organic must be USDA certified. Only producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods are exempt from this certification. (However, they’re still required to follow the USDA’s standards for organic foods.) If a food bears a “USDA Organic” label, it means it’s produced and processed according to the USDA standards.

Products that are completely organic — such as fruits, vegetables, eggs or other single-ingredient foods — are labeled 100% organic and can carry the USDA seal. Foods that have more than one ingredient, such as breakfast cereal, can use the USDA organic seal plus the following wording, depending on the number of organic ingredients:

■ 100% organic. To use this phrase, products must be either completely organic or made of all-organic ingredients.

■ Organic. Products must be at least 95% organic to use this term.

 — Source: The Mayo Clinic

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