FAQs by labeling and packaging

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New to organic certification or looking to become certified and not sure where to start? You might find these FAQ topics most useful:

We review websites of CCOF certified operations to ensure that organic claims are truthful and not misleading about the status of organic and nonorganic products. We look for any use of the word “organic” as well as the CCOF logo or USDA seal. Learn more about what CCOF looks for on a website to help you design a compliant website and prevent...

No, products labeled as organic must be produced in an inspected and certified organic facility. If you own or lease the facility, you can easily add an uncertified facility location to your own certification. If you contract with the facility to produce your products, the facility will need to apply for a separate organic certification with CCOF....

Yes, certified organic operations can use shared commercial kitchens to make their products, but they must certify the kitchen for their own use. In your application – called an Organic System Plan (OSP) – you will explain how you keep your products separate from any non-organic products or materials in the kitchen. You will also describe how organic product contact surfaces and processing...

If you are certified by CCOF, you can use the “Non-GMO & More” seal.

If used on the same panel with the USDA seal, the USDA seal must appear more prominent. When the horizontal version of the "Non-GMO & More" seal is used, prominence is measured by height, and if the vertical version is used, prominence is measured by width. For additional labeling help visit our ...

Yes, CCOF certification confers the ability to use either the CCOF seal or the USDA seal (or both) on products sold as “100% Organic” and “Organic.” The USDA seal may not be used on products labeled as “Made with Organic (list of specific ingredients).” USDA National Organic Program standards define the...

Like other non-GMO verification programs, non-GMO does not mean GMO-free. The phrase “non-GMO” on certified organic products means that, as required by organic standards, the product was produced without the use of GMOs.

No! Use of this optional seal is included with the standard cost of organic certification.

The way you label your certified organic products will depend on the amount of organic ingredients in them. Most crops and single-ingredient products can be labeled “Organic” and use the USDA seal. If you are making a multi-ingredient product with some non-organic ingredients, you may be allowed to claim your product is “Made with Organic (specified ingredients).” Visit our...

Certified transitional products cannot be represented as organic. CCOF has developed a separate logo for transitional products; only CCOF Certified Transitional operations may use this. Product sold as CCOF Certified Transitional must include the statement "CCOF Certified Transitional" on product labeling. An...

Water and salt are excluded when calculating the organic percentage of a product. Use our helpful H2.0B Product Formulation worksheet to help you calculate the organic percentage of finished products. This worksheet will also help you if some of your product is not composed entirely of organic ingredients.

You must protect organic integrity during receiving, storage, processing, packaging, and transportation. Many certified operations process both organic and non-organic products without any difficulty. These operations are referred to as “mixed” operations. Mixed operations are responsible for protecting organic ingredients and products throughout production. This is done by preventing...

When displaying bulk products that are certified "100% organic" or "organic" food in self-service bins or creating other product displays, you may post signs that provide the same information as listed on the original container or shipping documents. For example, your display, labeling, and display containers may use the USDA “organic” seal and the certifying agent’s mark, logo, or seal.

Yes, send all new or revised labels to CCOF for review and approval, even if you think the change does not affect your organic certification. Having your label reviewed by CCOF protects you from making costly mistakes.

All labels must be included in your Organic System Plan, including a label redesign for an existing product, a new size of packaging for an existing product, labels for...

No, products that restrict organic claims to the ingredient listing only are exempt from the requirements of certification. However, the manufacturer needs to maintain documentation that the organic ingredients identified are organic and certified according to the regulations. Manufacturers should request and maintain on file current copies of organic certificates for each organic ingredient....

If you buy product from a small-scale organic producer who is exempt from certification, you may identify this product as "organic." But you may not identify this product as being "certified organic" and you may not display the seal, logo, or other identifying mark of a certifying agent; nor may you display the USDA “organic” seal in conjunction with this product.

The National List is the list of non-organic materials you are allowed to use as ingredients, additives, or processing aids in your organic products. For processors this includes materials such as yeast, citric acid, baking soda, diatomaceous earth, and others. Only non-organic ingredients and processing aids included on the National List may be used in and on your products. CCOF must approve...

Each organic ingredient must be identified as "Organic" on the ingredient statement of products labeled as "Organic," or "Made with Organic (specified ingredients)."

The certifying agent must be identified by name ("California Certified Organic Farmers" or “CCOF”) on the information panel, beneath the name of the handler or distributor, and preceded by the statement, "Certified organic...

This list details the most common situations that require you to send information or documentation to CCOF, and what type of information you'll need to send. Read through this list and contact your Certification Service Specialist with additional questions.    I want to change something in my Organic System Plan (OSP), what should I send? Update your OSP forms and send them to CCOF for review and...