Label Reform

New USDA rules will define organic

Now that everything from carrots to ketchup bears some sort of "organic" label, what exactly does the designation mean? At the moment, not much--or at least not enough. But that's going to change in October, when the USDA implements four new levels of certification. Consider the label on a can of beef-vegetable soup:

--"100% Organic" means that all ingredients meet or exceed USDA specifications, which ban the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones. No artificial preservatives or other additives are allowed, except salt and water.

--"Organic" means at least 95% of the ingredients meet or exceed USDA...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!