NSF Organic certifies that the farming, processing and preparation of the products donning this label are handled with little to no use of artificial ingredients. There is no use of man-made chemicals on any equipment unless they are organic and approved by the appropriate governing body.
If products are certified as 100% organic, it means that the ingredients and the processing aids are organically produced with no other ingredients or additives. Organic products, on the other hand, contain 95% organic ingredients while the rest are non-agricultural substances that are allowed by the NOP .
With regards to the difference between NSF Organic and natural, products that are labeled “natural” have minimal processing and contain no artificial ingredients. The problem is that seeing a “natural” label on products does not mean that they are following organic regulations on farming practices .
NSF vs USDA – Personal Care Products
Nowadays, companies in the personal care industry offer organic products to their customers. Although they are eligible to be reviewed by the NOP, some manufacturers opt out of having their personal care items tested because of the processing methods and ingredients included.
In the United States, the American National Standard (also referred to as NSF/ANSI 305: Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients) was formed to provide standards for production and labeling of personal care items. The NSF/ANSI 305 allows for limited chemical processing such as saponification which allows products such as soaps to lather. Of course, this is not applicable to food processing .
NSF vs USDA – What Is USDA Organic
What Is USDA Organic – When you see the USDA Organic label on products, it means these products have gone through certification through the USDA. They are grown and processed based on federal guidelines that address soil quality, pest and weed control, equipment, procedures for raising animals and the use of additives. Produce can only be labeled organic as long as the soil in which the products are grown does not contain or has not received prohibited substances for three years. Forbidden substances include pesticides and fertilizers that are synthesized .
Organic Product Labeling
What Is USDA Organic – Specific labeling varies for organic products. The USDA identifies organic labeling in these different ways:
- 100% Organic – These foods are identified with the USDA seal. They are made with 100% organic ingredients.
- Organic – These foods can use the USDA seal and contain at least 95% of organic ingredients.
- Made with Organic Ingredients – These foods must include at least 70% organic ingredients. They cannot use the USDA seal.
- Contains Organic Ingredients – These are foods that contain less than 70% organic ingredients. They cannot use USDA seal but may list specific organic ingredients on the label .
NSF vs USDA organic standards have a lot of overlap. The main thing to remember is that NSF standards are international while USDA standards originated and are enforced in the United States.
NSF vs USDA – Non-GMO Project
Besides the NSF and USDA, the Non-GMO Project is another organization dedicated to providing consumers with safe foods. The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products. Its mission is to build and protect a non-GMO food supply through education, outreach and marketing support. The group collaborates with many industry experts offering another way for suppliers, brands and retailers to show their commitment to providing consumers with better foods .
NSF vs USDA – Resources
 Bradley Systems Inc; NSF, FDA or USDA: Which Food Safety Certification Matters For Chemicals?, October 27, 2017.
 The Public Health and Safety Organization; Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Certification.
 The Public Health and Safety Organization; Organic.
 U.S. Department Of Agriculture; Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means, March 22, 2012.
 Non-GMO Project; About.