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Can You Certify Organic Water?

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Question: Can You Certify Organic Water?
Answer:

In a word, no. Water, in most cases, cannot be certified as organic.

Under National Organic Program (NOP) policy water cannot be certified as organic. Additionally, processors and manufacturers of various organic products, must exclude water water when calculating the percentage of organically produced ingredients for labeling and certification reasons.

The term organic water is being tossed around in some circles, but again, water alone, say plain old bottled water, may not be labeled as USDA organic. This applies even if the water is obtained from under soil on land that is certified organic. As an example, say you have a certified organic farm. Even if you source water from beneath USDA certified organic farmland, that water is not eligible to be bottled and sold as 'organic water.'

There's an exception to the water rule though when it comes to flavored waters containing fruit juice, herbs or other agricultural additives that do qualify for certification. For example, Ayala's Herbal Water is certified organic, which may seem strange, since it's bottled water. However, according to Soo Kim, representative of the USDA’s National Organic Program, this product does qualify for certification, because:

"Regardless of whether water is the main or primary ingredient, it’s only the herb that qualifies for organic certification. Therefore, the product could properly be labeled ‘organic’ if it met the requirements for organic crops and handling/processing."

If you have specific questions about water, as it relates to organic certification, your best source of information is the NOP Program Handbook or your local accredited certifying agent.

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