As of today, December 22, 2010, the US House of Representatives and US Senate have both passed the Food Safety Modernization Act after over a year of speculation. The new food safety law is now on its way to President Obama to be signed into law.
What New Authority Will the FDA Have?
This new law is aimed at protecting consumers by giving the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more authority. The Food Safety Modernization Act will give the FDA the authority to decide to proactively recall food products rather than relying on food manufacturers to voluntarily recall foods or having to wait until federal officials trace the source of an outbreak to its origin – which often happens after consumers have already become ill.
With its expanded authority, the FDA can now compel food manufacturers to pull products off the shelves and to grant the FDA access to internal records at their farms and production facilities. According to Chris Waldrop of the Consumer Federation of America, the legislation “requires a fundamental shift” in priorities at the FDA, “emphasizing prevention instead of waiting until people become sick or die.”
The passing of this bill will boost the number of FDA inspections of farms and food companies/manufacturers. Food processors will also be required to have plans in place for preventing food contamination.
Who Does This Bill Affect?
The legislation will affect all whole foods and processed foods with the exception of products regulated by the USDA, which include meat, poultry and some egg products.
The new law exempts small farmers and food processors, as well as those who sell directly to farmers markets and/or farm stands. The exemption was strongly supported by advocates for local food who believe small producers would not be able to afford the required testing and record-keeping that the legislation specifies.
The Cost of Food Contamination in the USA
Each year it is estimated that one in six Americans fall ill as a result of consuming tainted food. Out of that statistic, 3,000 Americans die each year. Residual effects from tainted food are very costly for companies; billions of dollars are lost in sales, recalls, and legal expenses.
If this bill is passed by President Obama it is expected to cost $1.4 billion over a four year period and expected to create 2,000 new FDA inspector jobs.
More information about the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act:December 21, 2010
Back in late August I received an e-mail from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) titled “FDA to Convene Public Hearing on the Labeling of Food Made from AquAdvantage Salmon” this caught my eye because before I had not heard of genetically modified salmon, but I am always interested in the topic of GMO labeling. Since that day it seems that all I’ve seen in newsfeeds, Twitter-feeds, and so forth are links to news on genetically modified fish and GMO labeling standards. Apparently we are on the verge of seeing the first modified animal approved for consumption here in the United States!
What is genetically modified fish?
Genetically modified organisms are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as organisms in which “the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.” Genetically modified foods are typically developed as a way to provide a marketable advantage – a more durable food, easier to transport, an increased nutritional value, and so on.
Right now the fish being talked about in the news is AquAdvantage Salmon. This Atlantic salmon is genetically engineered and produced by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. out of Massachusetts. The salmon is injected with gene from a Chinook salmon which allows the fish to grow faster than a traditional salmon, and also a gene from an ocean pout eel that gives the fish an “anti-freeze” property that makes the AquAdvantage salmon unique because it can grow in colder conditions than regular salmon which stop growing in cold conditions.
FDA Finds Genetically Modified Salmon is Safe
The FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee has determined, after running tests, that the AquAdvantage salmon is “as safe to eat as other Atlantic salmon.” It appears to be on its way to FDA approval, and sale to consumers in the USA.
Consumer and Government Concern Over Genetically Modified Salmon
Leaked internal e-mails from the US Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service expose that even government scientists in doubt of the FDA’s findings. Also, some consumers and members of the US government remain concerned about the safety of genetically modified salmon, despite the FDA’s findings that it is safe, because it may endanger wild salmon if the populations mix.
Labeling of Genetically Modified Fish
This is a touchy subject, not only are some consumers against genetically modified fish in general, they may not even know if the fish they are buying is genetically modified.
Surprisingly, the FDA says it can’t make AquaBounty label its salmon as “genetically modified” due to idiosyncrasies within federal regulations. Conventional food makers are also stuck in a labeling predicament because other FDA regulations making it difficult for them to label their food as “not containing” genetically modified ingredients, etc.
There have been many consumers voicing their opinions through editorials and even proposed new bills in Congress. Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chairwoman of the House committee that controls the USDA and FDA budgets, proposed a bill on September 29, 2010 that would mandate labeling of genetically modified fish. The bill is titled “Consumer’s Right to Know Food Labeling Act.”
In the meatime, food makers and consumers are left to sort through a variety of voluntary labels that describe whether foods are genetically engineered or conventional.
Voluntary GMO Labeling Standards
Whole Foods Market has put its foot down on Genetically Modified Organisms. In October they announced a partnership with The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization whose goal is to raise awareness about GMOs. With this partnership, Whole Foods will be displaying signs around their store and posting GMO information on their website, giving consumers access to information they might not otherwise know about.
Together, Whole Foods Market and The Non-GMO Project have created a third-party non-GMO verified label called “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal. This seal will help shoppers distinguish foods that do and do not contain GMOs.
Whole Foods Market has also put its foot down on Genetically Modified Organisms. In October they announced a partnership with The Non-GMO project, a non-profit organization whose goal is to raise awareness about GMOs.
More information about Genetically Modified Foods:December 15, 2010
We’re Shopping Our Customers This Year
Tis the season! We are in the holiday spirit here at QuickLabel and are shopping for the perfect gifts. These holiday labeled specialties made by some of our favorite customers caught our eye, so we thought we’d share six of our favorite gift ideas – with cool holiday labels:
1) Start with Stocking Stuffers – Chocolate Snowflakes!
First up are these mouth watering stocking stuffers brought to us by Lake Champlain Chocolates. The first photo is of Raspberry BonBon Snowflakes, these candies are dark chocolate with raspberry cream center bottom – stamped with a festive holiday snowflake. Sounds delicious right? (they are)
Meghan Fitzpatrick of Lake Champlain Chocolates explained to us how helpful the QuickLabel Vivo! digital color label printer is in making their chocolate labels. “The flexibility of being able to print labels in-house is fantastic. We don’t have to worry about meeting minimums when using an outside printer and then being stuck with extra, outdated packaging. Having the Vivo! allows us lots of opportunities to brand our product in an easy and professional way that is consistent with all of our other packaging.”
The second photo is of Peppermint Cheer, sweet white chocolate with a cool dark mint center, topped with crushed all-natural candy canes. Is your mouth watering yet? If you’re looking for some last minute stocking stuffers or want to plan ahead for Valentine’s Day check out the seasonal chocolates in their online chocolate shop – trust me you won’t be disappointed! If you want to keep up with Meghan and Lake Champlain Chocolates, bookmark their Chocolate Blog and check them out on Twitter and Facebook!
2) Gifts for Special Customers & Clients
Next are these festive popcorn tins with a custom “holiday greetings” label from American Handforge, a leader who specializes in manufacturing quality hand forged aluminum block used in manufacturing aircraft for Bombadier and Boeing, among other customers.
These tins are filled with “Granny Carol’s Yummie Crunch” and are holiday gifts sent especially to American Handforge’s customers as a “thank you” for their continued business. Their label is printed with a festive holiday version of the American Handforge logo, which gives their gift a personal touch. The gift was handpicked as their token of appreciation, rather than as a marketing promotion. Gina from American Handforge explains, “We could have sent pens or water bottles to get our name out there but, we wanted to give something special to the people we work directly with all year long. I think it feels more like a gift this way, which is what the intent is.” Man, don’t you wish you were one of their customers? We love the thought that went into their holiday gift!
American Handforge’s holiday labels were printed by QuickLabel’s QuickPrint digital label printing service. Gina worked with QuickPrint Digital Label Specialist Becky Swartz, who was able to produce a proof of her popcorn label in an hour. “The labels are beautiful, everyone I have showed them to love them!” said Gina. (aw shucks!) “QuickLabel was recommended by the people we ordered the Yummie Crunch from and he was right! I will definitely use your company again!”
It’s been a pleasure working with you, Gina, and we think your holiday corporate gift labels are some of the nicest we’ve seen!
3) Everyone Loves Gingerbread, the Taste of the Holidays!
This festive holiday basket contains Gingerbread cookie mix, from Fowler’s Milling Co., straight out of Geauga County in Chardon, Ohio. Their gingerbread cookie mix is made from an old-world milling process – grinding grains between two stones.
Owners Rick and Billie Erickson grind locally-grown corn and wheat to produce flours and meals and then making them into baking mixes for delicious pancakes, muffins, and cookies – such as the gingerbread cookie mix we’re showing. Billie and the mill staff test and develop all of the recipes in their home kitchens, and Rick and the mill employees turn these recipes into nutritious products that contain no preservatives or additives.
Fowler prints its gingerbread cookie mix labels, showing off a batch of smiling gingerbread men, on its QuickLabel’s Vivo! digital color label printer. For more info on Fowlers Milling Co. check out their website or keep up with them on Facebook!
4) Don’t Forget to Pamper Yourself
Bidwell Botanicals produces fabulous natural body care products such as body scrubs, lip care products, soap products, etc. The products that caught our eye are their festively named and labeled body scrubs. Doesn’t “Gingerbread Latte” sugar scrub just scream Christmas? Or how about “Sugar Plum” shea butter sugar scrub? One use of these awesome body scrubs and your body will no doubt be in the holiday spirit! Not only do their names sound yummy their simple yet beautiful labels make them even more desirable. Bidwell Botanicals prints these body scrub labels using their QuickLabel QLS-2000 Xe thermal transfer color label printer.
5) Give Something You Baked
These brightly-colored icings are Lawrence Foods’ Holiday ButterCremes™, designed to make decorating holiday baked goods easier (so you can make more!). Each 14 oz. tub of buttercreme icing is filled with a Bold Icing, which don’t bleed, fade or stain your hands when you’re baking. They’re super smooth and creamy with an unbelievably sweet taste. And, they’re not just for Christmas – Lawrence also makes special frostings for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and the 4th of July so there are lots of occasions for baking favorite recipes and for children to decorate with mom or dad.
We think these labels look just as fun and tasty as the buttercreme inside! Communications Coordinator Brooke Lawrence tells us “the label contains bright colors to complement the hues of our Bold Icing line. We went for a simple design with striking images so as not to overwhelm the shopper. Each lid has a color-coded label so consumers know which color icing they’re opening.”
Lawrence Foods is an 80-year-old manufacturer of premium bakery ingredients for commercial food manufacturers, in-store supermarket bakeries, and foodservice operators. Located in Elk Grove Village, IL, they produce cream fillings, dry mixes, fondant, fruit fillings, glazes, icings, nutrition bar components, and savory spreads. For more information on Lawrence Foods check out their website: www.lawrencefoods.com.
6) Wrapping it Up
We knew there was only one way to end this blog: with holiday wrapping paper courtesy of Innisbrook Wraps located in Greensboro, NC. Innisbrook makes custom wrapping paper and other packaging for organizations holding fundraisers. See the little label on the shiny Innisbrook wrap? QuickLabel printed that in our Asheboro, NC label factory using our flexographic label printers. (Hi Asheboro team!)
If your organization is looking for a fundraising opportunity, check out Innisbrook gift wrapping paper for custom fundraisers.December 13, 2010
Background info to help you comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practices
The new GMP dietary supplement labeling laws are finally in effect. As of June 2010, dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors in the USA are required to manufacture, label, document, and store products in compliance with the FDA’s cGMP practices (Current Good Manufacturing practices) – cGMP or GMP for short.
For many dietary supplement manufacturers, the new regulations will mean a more complex, traceable manufacturing process. This affects a lot of companies because dietary supplements are a big business. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, dietary supplements are a $23.7 billion industry in the United States.
New labeling laws like these can be very confusing, so I am going to do my best to simplify them so we can all have a better understanding.
Here we go.
What are GMP Practices for Dietary Supplements?
First of all, let me define “dietary supplement” as the FDA defines it: a dietary supplement is any product that contains dietary ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids or other ingredients used to supplement the diet.
Essentially, GMP makes supplement manufacturers responsible for adhering to a specific set of manufacturing processes, safety procedures, and packaging standards to ensure that dietary supplement labels are truthful and that actual dietary supplement contents match the contents on the Supplement Facts label and are not misleading – in any way.
The GMP regulations are set in place to guarantee to consumers that strength and potency claims and ingredients statements on Supplement Facts label panels are accurate. GMP also makes dietary supplement manufacturers responsible for reporting product quality problems.
GMP is meant to reassure consumers that dietary supplements will not have unsafely high ingredients concentrations, will not have harmful contamination from substances such as toxins, bacteria, pesticides, glass, lead, or other heavy materials, and will not have inaccurate ingredients statements on the Supplement Facts label or misleading claims about ingredients and health benefits.
When the FDA issued its final rule about GMP for dietary supplements in June of 2007, Commissioner of Food and Drugs Andrew C. von Eschenbach, stated, “This rule helps to ensure the quality of dietary supplements so that consumers can be confident that the products they purchase contain what is on the label.”
Vic Shull, owner of Vitalabs, Inc. agreed that responsible dietary supplement manufacturers also benefit from the new GMP requirements, saying “most legitimate companies have benefited by the fact that less than legitimate companies must now comply.”
What are the Dietary Supplement Labeling Obligations Under GMP Regulations?
The FDA specifies a set of dietary supplement labeling operations under GMP regulations, they go as follows:
- Filling, assembling, packaging, and other operations shall be performed in such a way that dietary products are protected against adulteration.
- Written procedures should be established and followed describing in sufficient detail the control procedures employed for the receipt, storage, handling, sampling, examination, and/or testing that may be necessary to assure the identity of labeling and the appropriate identity, cleanliness and quality characteristics of packaging materials for dietary products and for the clearance of lines between different products.
- For dietary supplements, labels for each different product type, strength, or quantity of contents must be stored separately with suitable identification. (of course, this step is not necessary if dietary supplement labels are printed on demand from a digital label printer)
- Obsolete or non-compliant labels, labeling, and other packaging materials for dietary products shall be destroyed. (again, you would not have obsolete labels or non-compliant if you print your own labels with a digital label printer)
- Written procedures shall be established and followed to assure that correct labels, labeling, and packaging materials are issued and used for dietary products.
- Dietary ingredient and dietary supplement packages shall be identified with a lot number that permits determination of the history of the manufacture and control of the batch.
- Packaged and labeled dietary supplements shall be examined to provide assurance that containers and packages in the lot have correct label, ‘Best Before’, ‘Use By’, or expiry dating, and lot number. The quality control unit shall reject products not meeting specifications.
What Will the FDA Do to Administer GMP for Dietary Supplements?
The FDA will now inspect dietary supplement manufacturing facilities and carefully monitor dietary supplement labeling to make certain that the products are produced safely, contain no contaminants, and are labeled accurately. GMP practices require the highest quality throughout the manufacturing, labeling, packaging and storing processes.
The Food & Drug Administration has long maintained GMP regulations as a means of ensuring quality for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Now, with the new GMP regulations for dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbals, and other nutritional products in the United States are now being manufactured and labeled in much the same way as foods and pharmaceuticals.
Of course, there is still a major difference between marketing dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals: manufacturers do not need pre-approval from the FDA to begin selling dietary supplements, but it takes several years of clinical trials before the FDA approves pharmaceuticals for sale.
Who is Subject to Maintaining Compliance with GMP for Dietary Supplements?
GMP requirements apply to each and every domestic and foreign company that manufactures and packages dietary supplements for sale in the United States, including all those involved in manufacturing, distributing, testing, quality control, and labeling dietary supplements.
Can I Print Dietary Supplement Labels On-Demand?
Yes. GMP labeling requirements require manufacturers to store labels separately for each product, and to discard obsolete dietary supplement labels, but these concerns can be avoided if you print your own dietary supplement labels for each batch, instantly. When you use your own in-house label printer to make labels for dietary supplements, you can ensure that labels are printed for each batch of supplements. QuickLabel color label printers can print serialized labels in full-color, photo-quality. That allows you to print dietary supplement labels with logos and graphics while also printing ingredients panels, batch codes, lot codes, color codes, and expiration dates at the same time, on the same label. If you need primary display labels for bottles and jars, you can print your own labels in color. You can also print color labels for cases and cartons, or make barcode labels with a Pronto! monochrome label printer.
What Are the Required Elements of a Dietary Supplement Label?
Dietary supplement labels must include: a Supplement Facts panel for all active ingredients, an “Other Ingredients” panel that lists every inactive ingredient contained in the supplement product; a statement identifying the product as a dietary supplement; and supplement labels must state the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor. If the product is an herbal, the label must also state the plant from which the supplement is derived.
It’s fine to make “claims of nutritional support” on your supplement label, as long as you have the data to justify your claims. However, supplement labels with claims regarding functional health benefits such as “calcium builds strong bones” must include a disclaimer statement on the label which states that the FDA has not evaluated the claim and that the product “is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” Despite this disclaimer, all health claims must be truthful and not misleading to consumers – or the FDA will recall the product and may fine the manufacturer.
Important note: It is illegal to make a dietary supplement label claim that indicates that that the supplement is a treatment or cure for any condition or disease.
Supplement labels are regulated by the FDA under the DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994).
Can Manufacturers Be Exempted from GMP for Dietary Supplements?
The Interim Final Rule (IFR) makes available a petition for manufacturers who want to apply for exemption from the 100 percent identity testing for dietary supplement ingredients. When the manufacturer petitions the FDA, they must provide data that shows that less than 100% identity testing will not diminish assurance of correct dietary ingredient. Although a manufacturer can be exempted, they are still responsible for producing dietary supplements that meet GMP standards for purity and labeling.
More info about labeling dietary supplements:November 17, 2010
If you read this week’s report about Whole Foods Market adopting a color-coded labeling program for chicken and other meats to rate food producers’ humane treatment of food animals, you know that the topic of food animal welfare has reached the mainstream.
While Whole Foods is adopting a 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system suggested by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) complete with color coded labels in shades or red, orange, yellow, and green, we have also found that the American Humane Association has developed a humane meat label certification: The American Humane Certified Label. Here’s a little overview of that program.
The American Humane Certified Meat Label
Consumers are becoming more aware of what they are eating and where what they are eating is coming from. Terms such as “cage free,” humanely raised,” and “certified humane” are sought out by more and more consumers each day. Without a legal standard that defines these terms in the USA, The American Humane Association has come up with a set of standards to be met by food producers who want to use these terms on their products. The American Humane Certified meat label has grown so much in popularity that they even exhibited at the Natural Products Expo East in Boston in October 2010.
The American Humane Certified program is America’s original animal welfare program created by the American Humane Association as an assurance for consumers that certified farms care for and handle animals humanely. This certification is a fee-based, voluntary certification for producers in agricultural settings who meet the standards set by American Humane Association.
What are The Standards for the American Humane Certification?
The standards to be upheld under the American Humane Certified have been determined based on scientific studies with input from experts on different food animal species. The foundation for these standards came from the Four Freedoms created by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The American Humane Association describes these standards as:
- Free to live and grow in a humane environment under conditions and care that limit stress.
- Free to enjoy a healthy life, benefiting from injury and disease prevention and rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Free to readily access fresh water and a diet that maintains full health and vigor.
- Freedom to express normal behaviors and live in an appropriate and comfortable environment that includes sufficient space, proper facilities, shelter, a resting area, and company of the animals’ own kind.
Becoming a humane certified producer is voluntary and involves compliance with True Humane Tracking procedures, including independent video monitoring of livestock 24 hours a day in order to bring transparency and consistency to the certification process. To date, this is the only meat certification process to use video footage.
Certification is meant to provide consumers with confidence that the meats they buy come from animals that are raised and handled in the most humane way possible. In order to be certified, farms and ranches must submit an application and then go through a three-tier auditing process using a third-party auditor approved by the American Humane Association.
During an on-site inspection, an auditor will observe management and employees, operation process and procedures – totaling over 100 observations. Producers who meet all American Humane requirements will be approved for a period of one year. Upon approval, the producer will be able to use the American Humane Certified meat label.
Do I have to re-apply for certification?
You can renew your Humane meat label certification annually by maintaining all of your records and processes. If any systems have changed, you must submit changes for approval in writing before you put them into effect. If a company violates AHA guidelines, they are given the chance to correct the problem within a timeframe given by the AHA.
Questions for further discussion:
What do you think of the idea of labeling meat with humane ratings? (kind of a tough topic to think about, I know)
Will consumers respond to seeing a humane certified meat label?
How much would you be willing to pay to know that the animals you eat were raised humanely?
November 8, 2010
These days, consumers are becoming more conscious of the ingredients in the cosmetics and personal care products that we are putting on our body. Many cosmetic labels claim that products are “natural,” “healthy,” and “safe,” but the US government does not define or investigate the use of these terms on personal care and cosmetic labels.
So, what can a consumer look for on a cosmetic label or personal care label to make an informed decision about ingredients? With this topic more popular than ever, we here at QuickLabel have put together an informational “how-to” for those of you looking into getting certification for your cosmetics and personal care products.
There are three label standards: the government’s USDA Organic seal, the voluntary NSF “Made with Organic” seal, and the voluntary NPA “Natural” Standard for Personal Care Products seal.
Organic cosmetic labeling just got a big boost from the nation’s largest natural products retailer: Whole Foods Market. In June 2010, Whole Foods Market announced that starting June 2011 all personal care and cosmetics product labels making an “organic” claim must be certified by the USDA NOP and all labels with the “made with organic ingredients” statement be certified by the NSF. As part of an effort to crack down on fraudulent organic label claims, Whole Foods will not sell cosmetics or personal care products with labels that say “organic” unless they have the USDA Organic seal or the NSF Personal Care seal.
USDA Organic Cosmetics Labels: Cosmetics are eligible to receive the USDA Organic label seal under the National Organic Program (NOP), but the guidelines for this are very strict: a minimum of 95% of ingredients must be certified organic. Strict certification requirements that generally follow NOP standards such as: organic ingredients, materials, and production processes must be met. This is the same standard applied to organic foods, but it is considered very difficult to meet by personal care manufacturers.
NSF “Made with Organic” Cosmetics Labels: To fill in the gap between the high USDA standard and consumer demand for organic personal care products, NSF International and a group of personal care manufacturers, retailers, and trade associations come up with a new voluntary quality standard to regulate the use of the term “Made with Organic” and “Contains Organic Ingredients” on personal care and cosmetic product labels. The NSF standard was adopted by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), as NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care Products. To comply, a minimum of 70% of product ingredients must be organic, and the product and manufacturer must be certified to comply with the NSF/ANSI 305 standard.
Natural Cosmetics Labels and Personal Care Labels
What about personal care products that are not necessarily organic, but are still made of better-for-you ingredients? There is also a way for label-conscious consumers to identify whether cosmetics are “natural,” (made of renewable resources found in nature, containing no petroleum products): the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, a voluntary certification created by the Natural Products Association (NPA) in 2008.
If you come across a personal care product labeled “natural” along with a Natural Products Association (NPA) official seal it means that the product is made with at least 95% all natural ingredients, ingredients that are all approved by the NPA. These are the criteria for NPA Natural Personal Care Products:
- Natural – any product labeled as “natural” should be made of natural ingredients (95%) and must be processed appropriately in order to keep its natural purity.
- Safety – “natural” labeled products must avoid ingredients that pose any human health risk.
- Responsibility – “natural” products should not be tested on animals
- Sustainability – biodegradable ingredients and eco-friendly packaging should be used for “natural” labeled products.
How Do I Get My Cosmetics & Personal Care Products Certified? (for Manufacturers)
Having a USDA Organic, NSF “Made with Organic” seal, or Natural Products Association certified Natural seal on your cosmetic label or personal care label is a symbol of trust to consumers, and many cosmetics makers and retailers are recognizing the value of these label seals.
● USDA Organic Certification. If your cosmetic or personal care product is made up of organic agricultural ingredients, you are eligible to undertake certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agent. You must meet National Organic Program standards for organic production, handling, processing, and labeling. After you are certified, you can download and use the official USDA Organic logo. Your labels with the USDA seal must also bear the name and address of your organic certifying agent.
● NSF “Made with Organic” Certification. If your organic product contains 70% or more organic ingredients it can qualify for NSF Personal Care Certification through a third-party certifier. Just like the USDA NOP, the NSF has specific requirements on materials, process, production, labeling and requires the NOP certified ingredients be used. An application, on-site inspection, and technical review are to be completed then certification will be determined.
How Can I Get a Cosmetics Label with a Natural or Organic Logo?
After receiving your USDA, NSF, or NPA certification, you’ll have the right to print a USDA Organic seal, NSF “contains organic ingredients” seal, or “NPA natural” seal on your cosmetics labels. You can either buy new printed cosmetics labels that feature your seal, or you can use an in-house digital label printer to make your own cosmetic labels with the NPA or NSF seal.
QuickLabel Systems offers several solutions for printing your own personal care labels and cosmetic labels with the USDA or NSF organic seal or the NPA natural seal. By printing your own natural or organic cosmetic labels with a QuickLabel printer you’ll have the ability to change your label design and print new product labels with your natural certification logo or seal, at your finger tips. You can also print private label versions of your cosmetics labels at any time, changing the logo branding and name on the label and retaining the USDA, NSF, or NPA seal and certification.
For more information on Natural and Organic Cosmetics Labels, check out:October 31, 2010
The big day is finally here!
We’re finally able to show everyone our brand new Vivo! Touch digital color label printer. We’re doing something special with this printer, making color labels in awesome photo-quality with a label printer that can actually be integrated with your packaging line, so you can print your own color labels on the fly, with no hesitation as variable information labels get processed and printed.
The Vivo! Touch prints right on die-cut labels, we have an on-board RIP that processes label artwork and prints color labels fast. With the Vivo! Touch, you have the flexibility to print labels whenever you need them, printing in short run batches of just 100 labels at a time, or longer runs of 1,000s of labels at a time – at speeds of around 4,000 labels an hour! And I’m happy to say that our Tech Support team will be supporting our Vivo! Touch customers with an in-person installation and training at their facility, and continuing to serve them with the Two-Year Warranty and Customer Support Package that comes included with the Vivo! Touch.
I’ve been having fun making label designs to demonstrate on the Vivo! Touch for months. The labels look so good with the new print quality thanks to our new halftoning screen. (I think it makes my labels look even better than they should) And getting to print labels from a touchscreen is very cool and convenient.
If you’re in Chicago this between today and November 3rd, I hope you’ll stop by our Pack Expo booth #4020 in the North Hall. I’m here, along with our team of outstanding sales engineers, and we are all looking forward to meeting you “live and in color!” You really won’t want to miss all the exciting things we’ll have going on at our booth.
We’ve all been working full-tilt on this new color label printer, labeling software, CMYK
toner system, and compatible LED label materials. I’d just like to give a shout out to our amazing QuickLabel Engineering team, especially Tony L, Lou V, Jon A, Joe C, Pedro C, Glen D, Matt G, Chris P, Armen D, Chris W, Jim G, Chris N, Chris N2, and Pete F. Most people don’t get to meet you at trade shows, but you all lived and breathed this project and made it a reality. Thank you.
A special thank you to our web developer, Ron Schram, who designed this blog and for creating a slick new website to coincide with the launch of the Vivo! Touch digital color printer launch – we can’t thank you enough.
Nothing this complex happens without a vision and a will to get it done, so I’d like to say thanks also to CTO Mike Sullivan, COO Everett Pizzuti, and to our CEO Albert Ondis. It’s a pleasure getting to work with you all.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Anonymous
Cheers everyone!October 26, 2010
Are you thinking about having your naturally-grown food or beverage products labeled as certified organic?
We get a lot of questions about organic labeling, so QuickLabel Systems put together these FAQs to explain the steps involved in getting a Certified USDA Organic label on your products.
What Does it Mean if a Product is Labeled as “Organic”?
In the United States, if a food or beverage product is labeled as “organic,” that means that the product has been grown, produced, inspected, and certified to be in compliance with the organic standards of the National Organic Program (NOP), a program of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Only the USDA can authorize a company to market and label its food or beverage as organic. If a company is authorized to label a product as USDA Organic, it has met USDA National Organic Program standards including:
- Pesticides: Foods are produced without using most conventional pesticides
- Fertilizer: Foods are produced without using fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge
- Bioengineering and Radiation: Foods are produced without the use of bioengineering or ionizing radiation
- Antibiotics and Growth Hormone: Organic meat, poultry, eggs,and dairy products must come from animals that are not antibiotics or growth hormones
- Sustainable Practices: The production process must use renewable resources and conserve soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations
Are There Different Organic Label Statements for Different Levels of Organic?
- 100% Organic: 100% of ingredients are organic, processing is 100% organic.
- Organic: 95% or more of ingredients are organic, some USDA-approved chemical additives may be used in processing.
- Made with Organic Ingredients: Certain ingredients are organic. This label statement is not a USDA standard labeling statement and cannot be used outside of the Ingredients Panel on the label. However, it can be made if a USDA-approved certifying agent has verified the claim that some ingredients are organic.
How Can My Company Get a Certified Organic Product Label?
Before you use the term “organic” on a product label sold in the United States, you must be given official certification and approval by the USDA.
Although the USDA sets organic standards, they do not directly certify farmers and processors. Organic Certifying Agents, who are accredited by the USDA, are responsible for the certification process.
You must hire an Organic Certifying Agent to verify that your production process meets USDA organic standards. Check out this list on the USDA website to find an accredited USDA organic certifying agency (PDF).
Is it OK to Use an Organic Label without USDA Approval?
No, it is not legal to market foods, beverages, or other agricultural products as “organic” if they are not USDA certified organic.You may face a fine of $11,000 if you do!
The label term “organic” is regulated, and can’t be used without official approval from the USDA and USDA Organic certification. US companies have been given large fines, up to thousands of dollars, from the USDA when organic labeling is improperly used.
Are Small Farms Exempt from USDA Organic Standards?
Yes. Farms and processors with $5,000 or less in gross income from organic sales are exempt USDA NOP standards and may label products as organic without USDA organic certification.
Can I rotate the USDA Organic Logo on My Label?
No, the USDA organic logo must be used in read direction only.
Can I Change the Color of the USDA Organic Logo on My Label?
No, the USDA Organic seal can only be represented in white, green (PMS 348), and brown (PMS 175), or in black-and-white. Many label designers wonder whether it’s OK to print the USDA Organic Seal in a different color because they want it to match their label design, but it’s important to adhere to USDA standards for use of the official organic seal. If you print your own labels, you will need a full color label printer to produce the organic logo in color, or at least a monochrome barcode label printer to produce the USDA organic logo in black and white.
What is the Marketing Value of an Organic Label?
The decision to certify and label your products as organic will involve time and cost. You may ask yourself: “will an organic label help me to sell more products to consumers?”
In an interview, we asked Curtis Johnson, General Manager of Woodstock Farms Manufacturing, whether he thought having an organic seal makes a product more marketable.
“You have to have it. It’s not a luxury these days. People really want and ask for and demand the organic certification. The actual certification on the package is a requirement, but it is also advertising, saying ‘our product is organic certified, so you know what you’re getting is good, and it’s tested,” said Johnson.
Mushroom farmer Eric Rose, who maintained organic standards even before applying for official USDA Organic certification, recently told the New York Times that he expected to be able to sell his produce for $1 per pound more when he gets the USDA Organic label.
Rosemary Quinn of the California Certified Organic Farmers Association (CCOF) underscored the importance of the USDA certified organic label, saying “the USDA organic seal allows for consumer trust in the organic integrity of a product. For consumers who want foods produced without pesticides or genetic engineering, the organic seal ensures this from farm to table.”
What Kind of Products Can Be Labeled with the USDA Organic Seal?
Only agricultural products that achieve organic certification can be labeled organic. This includes foods and beverages such as cheese, chocolate, cookies, juices, meats, milk, pasta, poultry, prepared sauces, soups, wines and alcoholic beverages, and more. Fiber products such as clothing, bedding, and tablecloths can also be labeled organic if they are made of organically grown natural fibers.
Personal care products and cosmetic products can only be labeled USDA Organic if they are made up of agricultural products. Otherwise, the FDA does not define the use of the term “organic” and does not regulate organic labeling for cosmetic products. Because of this, makers of personal care and cosmetics products are adopting their own voluntary, private organic standard, through the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
What is the Process to Get My Products Certified Organic?
You must familiarize yourself with USDA organic production requirements, and write an “organic system plan” that outlines your own production practices and verifies your compliance with USDA organic standards. Each processing plant and each company that handles your product before it is packaged must complete its own organic system plan. Then, submit your organic system plan to your certifying agent and prepare to be visited by your certifying agent for a site inspection. During your site inspection, your plan will be referenced to confirm that your actual practices following your plan.
To get an idea of how to prepare for an organic inspection, check out this preparation article from National Sustainable Agricultural Information Center.
Certification costs vary depending on the size of your production operation and on the accredited agency you choose to use. In general, organic certification costs run between $200 – $1500.
Your costs will include an application fee, site inspection fee, and an annual certification fee. Of course, your total costs will also include any expense you must make to bring your growing and production processes into compliance with National Organic Program standards.
We asked Rosemary Quinn, marketing specialist at the California Certified Organic Farmers Certification Service, to give us an idea of what it would cost to become certified organic with the CCOF as a certifying agent. She gave us these rules of thumb:
- Initial Application Fee: $275.
- Site Inspection Fee: depends on time and materials, usually less than $500.
- Expedited Certification Service: $1,475
- Annual Certification Fee: based on the Gross Organic Production Value, usually between $400 and $1,500 for a small farm or small processor
Are There Any Discounts Available for Organic Certification?
Yes. The USDA offers a “Cost Sharing Program” on a state by state basis that can save your business up to 75% of the costs associated with the organic certification process, not to exceed $750 per year.
When Will I be Approved for Organic Labeling?
After your site inspection is complete, the USDA approval process may take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks. Once certification is granted, you will officially receive the right to label your products with the USDA organic seal.
After you are approved, you will be responsible for putting your organic system plan into action. You must update your plan annually in order to keep your current practices consistent with USDA organic regulations.
Will My Organic Certification Expire?
No, your organic certification will not expire. You will continue to be able to use organic labels on your products until you no longer want to maintain your certification.
However, your organic certifying agency may revoke or suspend your right to label products as organic if it determines that you are not following your organic system plan or that you are out of compliance with organic standards.
If you fail to follow organic standards, you are not legally allowed to continue to use an organic statement on your label, or an organic seal or agency certification logo. If you use organic statements on your labels without the right to do so, you will face large fines from the USDA.
How Can I Get an Organic Logo on My Label?
After your organic certification is approved and you receive the right to print an USDA Organic seal on your labels, you can either buy new printed labels which feature the USDA organic seal, or you can use an in-house digital label printer to change your labels and make your own labels with the organic seal.
QuickLabel Systems offers several solutions for putting the organic logo on your label. By printing your own organic labels with a QuickLabel printer you have the ability to change your label design and print new product labels with your organic logo or certification seal, at your finger tips. You can also print private label versions of organic product labels at any time, changing the logo branding and name on the label and retaining the organic seal and statement.
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