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USDA Goes Green with Announcement of BioBased Product Label

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USDA Goes Green with Announcement of BioBased Product Label

Modeled after the Energy Star program for energy-efficient appliances, the USDA will roll out Certified Biobased Product labels this spring.

The labels will be for items such as skin care products and household cleaners that contain biobased materials. They will look similar to the USDA's organic food label.

"Today's consumers are increasingly interested in making educated purchasing choices for their families," said Kathleen Merrigan, Agriculture deputy secretary.

"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 identified as those that are made wholly or significantly of biological materials, such as renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials.

The effort falls under the USDA's BioPreferred program, created by the 2002 Farm Bill. Approximately 5,100 biobased products have been designated by the department for preferred purchasing by federal agencies.