Feds Launch Biobased Label


The U.S. Department of Agricultures BioPreferred Program on Thursday published its final rule to launch a voluntary product certification and labeling program for qualifying biobased products Feb. 21.

Manufacturers, distributors or vendors of biobased products may apply for product certification and use the USDA Certified Biobased Product certification label on approved products. Eligible products are those considered wholly or significantly of biological ingredients, including renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials; or that is an intermediate ingredient or feed stock.

The size of the certification mark will vary, depending on the application. A text statement on the label denotes whether the USDA certification applies to the product, the package, or both the product and package, and shows the percentage of biobased content. Where applicable, the letters FP on the label also indicate the product is eligible for federal preferred procurement.

Biobased products already identified within existing product categories under the federal procurement preference portion of the BioPreferred program must meet the minimum biobased content of the category. Products not within a pre-identified category must be 25 percent biobased unless the applicant applies for and gets an alternative minimum biobased content allowance.

A BioPreferred item meets or exceeds USDA-established minimum bio-based content requirements. The federal procurement programs final regulations include a wide variety of lubricants and greases, and their designated minimum bio-based content percentage. Examples include include multipurpose lubricants and turbine drip oils, hydraulic fluids in mobile equipment and stationary equipment, transformer fluid, penetrating lubricants, 2-cycle engine oils, several types of greases, firearm lubricants, and several types of metalworking fluids.

The USDA will conduct oversight and monitoring of manufacturers, vendors, designated representatives and other entities involved with the voluntary product labeling program to ensure compliance. The oversight will include conducting facility visits of manufacturers and vendors who have certified biobased products, and of their designed representatives.

A standardized application form and instructions are available at www.biopreferred.gov. The USDA said explanations will accompany rejected applications, and rejected applicants may revise applications and resubmit. Certifications remain valid for as long as the biobased product is manufactured in compliance with the information in the approved application.

The finale rule is available in PDF format at the USDAs BioPreferred web site: www.biopreferred.gov/files/BP_Label_Final_Rule_01_20_11.pdf

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