In a big step for the organic food industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is poised to roll out an official “USDA Organic” seal and launch a long-awaited national standard to replace the existing hodgepodge of state and private certification systems. Food will have to contain 95 percent organic ingredients to be eligible for the label, a move that should put an end to the current, er, creative labeling practices of some food companies. Some small farmers are concerned that the 95 percent rule will actually lower the bar for big organic farmers, but most say that, all in all, they’re glad the feds are wising up to the importance of mainstreaming organic food. Sales of organic foods in the U.S. are growing by about 20 percent annually and are expected to surpass $11 billion this year.
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