How to Tell The Difference Between True and Fake

Okay, so you have decided to go organic but the next question is how do we know that the foods that we are paying for is actually the true organic or it could be some faux labeling tactics undertaken by some unscrupulous manufacturers? Most of time going through the display on the wide range of fresh produce and packaged products in the stores, trying to make out the difference can be a very daunting task and often misleading because appearance wise there is no way to tell whether those are genuine or otherwise.

Thus, that is where we look for certification labels printed on the packaging or on the food wrappers as stipulated and introduced by governmental agencies and organizations worldwide. This article will guide you through on what to look for depending on which country you come from and the list will be updated as changes are made and updated over time.

North America
USDA organic logoThere are generally three levels of organic certification as introduced by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and outlined in the National Organic Program (NOP) on labeling standards for consumer products. Apart from the labeling aspects, the program also created a guideline with a clear definition regarding the requirements related to farming practice, production methods and processing techniques for the raw, fresh and packed food products to adhere to before those are allowed to display and carry the organic labeling. All these are set in accordance to the standards laid out for producers and manufacturers to follow.

Basically, the organic labeling can be divided into:
  1. Agricultural products labeled “100 percent organic” and “organic”
  2. Processed products labeled “made with organic ingredients”
  3. Processed products that contain less than 70 percent organic ingredients
On how each food product qualifies to be marketed under certain organic group, I would suggest that you head over to the official USDA website at for more information on the labeling guidelines and laws pertaining to it. Thus, with all that information in place, make sure that you know your rights before picking up anything at the store.

bio-siegel germany logoEU countries have strict guidelines regarding the control of organic certification among member countries and in fact, these efforts are actually carried out and implemented at national level. Each country under the union is allowed to establish their own programs and standards as long as it complies with the provision as stipulated in the EU regulations (EEC) N2092/91 for organic foods production and labeling. In Germany for example, “Bio-Siegel” is the organic foods label introduced by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and it carries with it certain guidelines pertaining to the term and definition of agricultural produce whereby at least 95 percent of the ingredients that comes from agricultural origin has to be from organic farming.

For more information on labeling practice and facts related to EU regulation, you can check out which are written in English.

JAS Japanese Agricultural Standard logoOrganic foods certification system in Japan is regulated by the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) but however, information on the scopes, regulatory requirements, definition and overall implementation process have not yet been fully made available mainly because most of the websites related to this topic are in Japanese language. In the country, the JAS logo is widely used to identify and differentiate the organic produce from the rest. One thing interesting when it comes to the sale of organic products is that, if you have the chance to visit the land of the rising sun, you will find that there are lot of organic foods bazaars and markets organized everywhere around the country and these are attended by mostly farmer and vendors themselves to sell their own products.

South East Asian Countries
Whereas countries in this region are concerned, the rules and enforcements on organic certification and labeling have not yet been fully implemented and thus, the word “organic” and its accompanying logos are freely used without restriction and control. Most customers do not question the authenticity and mainly the sales and purchases are based solely on mutual trust whereby only reputation of the manufacturers are at stake here. In some high-end supermarkets and consumer food stores, you can find that most of these organic foods products are imported stuff bearing the label of the USDA organic certification.

Australia NASAA organic logoACO organic logoIn Australia, there are several certification bodies and the top 2 among all are the 1) National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) and the other 2) Australian Certified Organic (ACO), each with their own logo and marking. Both bodies also set their own standard when it comes to compliance and recognition.

I hope the compilation made here have covered practically everything you need to know in order to help you make a wise and well-informed decision especially on the difference between the real and fake organic foods. If you have any information regarding your country which you would like to see added here to the list, feel free to contact me at Finally as mentioned earlier, always make sure that you do not trust and buy into the soft marketing words spread by unscrupulous people because you yourself as a consumer have the rights to know what you are paying for and it certainly doesn’t hurt to carry out that extra bit of work to confirm the authenticity of the organic labeling.

A final word: All the logos displayed and used in this article here are trademark and copyright of the organizations involved with some like the USDA and Bio-Siegel actually belonging to the national certification bodies itself. Its sole purpose is meant to equip the readers with the knowledge about organic foods labeling as a way to differentiate the real and the faux so that they don't get cheated.

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