January 20, 2011
WASHINGTONUSDAs BioPreferred program will publish its final rule to initiate a voluntary product certification and labeling program for qualifying biobased products Jan. 21 in the Federal Register. The new label will clearly identify biobased products made from renewable resources and promote the increased sale and use of the products in the commercial and consumer markets.
Today's consumers are increasingly interested in making educated purchasing choices for their families," said USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. This label will make those decisions easier by identifying products as biobased. These products have enormous potential to create green jobs in rural communities, add value to agricultural commodities, decrease environmental impacts, and reduce our dependence on imported oil."
Biobased products are composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients such as renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. The new label indicates that the product has been certified to meet USDA standards for a prescribed amount of biobased content. The final rule applies to product manufacturers and distributors who wish to label products with USDA's distinctive product mark.
USDA already has designated approximately 5,100 biobased products for preferred purchasing by federal agencies. The new label will make identification of these products easier for federal buyers and increase awareness of these high-value products in other markets. USDA estimates that there are 20,000 biobased products currently being manufactured in the United States and that the growing industry as a whole is responsible for more than 100,000 jobs.
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