FAQs by labeling and packaging

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. Independent businesses (not leased or owned by... Read more

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 labeling requirements for certified organic products.

Since 1973, the CCOF seal has... Read more

Yes, "Certified Transitional" is a status granted to growers who are transitioning their crops from conventional to organic. To achieve “Certified Transitional” status, operations must be inspected and demonstrate compliance with all requirements for certified organic production except the three year transition time. To sell a crop as “Certified Transitional,” the grower must wait until one... Read more

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).” See CCOF’s easy labeling... Read more

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... Read more

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 new... Read more

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.... Read more

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.

CCOF cannot recommend any specific cleaners or sanitizers. Processors/handlers are permitted to use any sanitizer allowed for cleaning food contact surfaces as long as the sanitizer does not leave a residue and does not come in contact with organic products. Sanitizers that contact organic products must be on the National List (205.605).  The National List (205.600-205.606) is available by... Read more

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... Read more

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... Read more

Products labeled “Made with organic…” may contain up to 30% non-organic ingredients. Non-organic ingredients must either be agricultural or on section 205.605 of the National List. Any nonagricultural ingredient or processing aid that does not appear on section 205.605 is prohibited in all organic products, including those labeled as “Made with organic…” Section 205.606 of the National List... Read more

The National List is the definitive source for allowed materials. However, several agencies and organizations create comprehensive lists of brand name products and ingredients that may be used in organic processing. Among them are the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. All materials must be approved by CCOF before use.

Use... Read more

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... Read more

Looking for organic ingredients? You can find the products produced and processed by CCOF members in our searchable online Organic Directory.

The following resources will help guide you in finding other sources of organic ingredients, growers, and manufacturers as well as organic suitable ingredients.

Organic Trade Association - The Organic Pages
Organic Trade Association... Read more