U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 17, 2022

§ 3202.7 - Requirements associated with the certification mark.

(a) Who may use the certification mark? (1) Manufacturers and vendors. Only manufacturers and vendors who have received a notice of certification, or designated representatives of the manufacturer or vendor, may affix the official certification mark (in one of the three variations, as applicable) to the product or its packaging. A manufacturer or vendor who has received a notice of certification for a product under this part:

(i) May use the certification mark on the product, its packaging, and other related materials including, but not limited to, advertisements, catalogs, specification sheets, procurement databases, promotional material, Web sites, or user manuals for that product, according to the requirements set forth in this section; and

(ii) Is responsible for the manner in which the mark is used by its companies, as well as its designated representatives, including advertising agencies, marketing and public relations firms and subcontractors.

(2) Other entities. (i) Other entities may use the mark to advertise or promote certified biobased products in materials including, but not limited to, advertisements, catalogs, procurement databases, Web sites, and promotional and educational materials, as long as the manufacturer or vendor of the product, or one of their designated representatives, has affixed the mark to the product or its packaging.

(ii) Other entities may use the certification mark; the phrase “USDA Certified Biobased Product/Package/Product & Package,” as applicable; and the BioPreferred Program name in general statements as described in paragraph (b) of this section, as long as the statements do not imply that a non-certified biobased product is certified.

(b) Correct usage of the certification mark. (1) The certification mark can be affixed only to certified biobased products and their associated packaging.

(2) The certification mark may be used in material including, but not limited to, advertisements, catalogs, procurement databases, Web sites, and promotional and educational materials to distinguish products that are certified for use of the label from those that are not certified. The certification mark may be used in advertisements for both certified biobased products and non-certified/labeled products if the advertisement clearly indicates which products are certified/labeled. Care must be taken to avoid implying that any non-certified products are certified.

(3) The certification mark may be used without reference to a specific certified biobased product only when informing the public about the purpose of the certification mark. For example, the following or similar claim is acceptable: “Look for the ‘USDA Certified Biobased Product’ certification mark. It means that the product meets USDA standards for the amount of biobased content and the manufacturer or vendor has provided relevant information on the product to be posted on the USDA BioPreferred Program Web site.” This exception allows manufacturers, vendors, and other entities to use the certification mark in documents such as corporate reports, but only in an informative manner, not as a statement of product certification.

(4) The certification mark may appear next to a picture of the product(s) or text describing it.

(5) The certification mark must stand alone and not be incorporated into any other certification mark or logo designs.

(6) The certification mark may be used as a watermark provided the use does not violate any usage restrictions specified in this part.

(7) The text portion of the certification mark must be written in English and may not be translated, even when the certification mark is used outside of the United States.

(c) Incorrect usage of the certification mark. (1) The certification mark shall not be used on any product that has not been certified by USDA as a “USDA Certified Biobased Product.”

(2) The certification mark shall not be used on any advertisements or informational materials where both certified biobased products and non-certified products are shown unless it is clear that the certification mark applies to only the certified biobased product(s).

(3) The certification mark shall not be used to imply endorsement by USDA or the BioPreferred Program of any particular product, service, or company.

(4) The certification mark shall not be used in any form that could be misleading to the consumer.

(5) The certification mark shall not be used by manufacturers or vendors of certified products in a manner disparaging to USDA or any other government body.

(6) The certification mark shall not be used with an altered certification mark or incorporated into other label or logo designs.

(7) The certification mark shall not be used on business cards, company letterhead, or company stationery.

(8) The certification mark shall not be used in, or as part of, any company name, logo, product name, service, or Web site, except as may be provided for in this part.

(9) The certification mark shall not be used in a manner that violates any of the applicable requirements contained in this part.

(d) Imported products. The certification mark can be used only with a product that is certified by USDA under this part. The certification mark cannot be used to imply that a product meets or exceeds the requirements of biobased programs in other countries. Products imported for sale in the U.S. must adhere to the same guidelines as U.S.-sourced biobased products. Any product sold in the U.S. as a “USDA Certified Biobased Product/Package/Product & Package” must have received certification from USDA.

(e) Contents of the certification mark. The certification mark shall consist of the certification mark artwork, the biobased content percentage, and one of the three variations of text specified in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(3) of this section, as applicable.

(1) USDA Certified Biobased Product.

(2) USDA Certified Biobased Product: Package.

(3) USDA Certified Biobased Product & Package.

(f) Physical aspects of the certification mark. The certification mark artwork may not be altered, cut, separated into components, or distorted in appearance or perspective. Certification marks that are applied to biobased products that have been designated for preferred Federal procurement will include the letters “FP” as part of the certification mark artwork. The certification mark must appear only in the colors specified in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(3) of this section, unless approval is given by USDA for an exception.

(1) A multi-color version of the certification mark is preferred. The certification mark colors to be applied will be stipulated in the “Marketing Guides” document available on the USDA BioPreferred Program Web site (http://www.biopreferred.gov).

(2) A one-color version of the certification mark may be substituted for the multi-color version as long as the one color used is one of the multi-color choices reapplied without modification. Further guidance on the one-color certification mark application will also be detailed in the “Marketing Guides.”

(3) A black and white version of the certification mark is acceptable.

(g) Placement of the certification mark. (1) The certification mark can appear directly on a product, its associated packaging, in user manuals, and in other materials including, but not limited to, advertisements, catalogs, procurement databases, and promotional and educational materials.

(2) The certification mark shall not be placed in a manner that is ambiguous about which product is a certified biobased product or that could indicate certification of a non-certified product.

(3) When used to distinguish a certified biobased product in material including, but not limited to, advertisements, catalogs, procurement databases, Web sites, and promotional and educational materials, the certification mark must appear near a picture of the product or the text describing it.

(i) If all products on a page are certified biobased products, the certification mark may be placed anywhere on the page.

(ii) If a page contains a mix of certified biobased products and non-certified products, the certification mark shall be placed in close proximity to the certified biobased products. An individual certification mark near each certified biobased product may be necessary to avoid confusion.

(h) Minimum size and clear space recommendations for the certification mark - (1) The certification mark may be sized to fit the individual application as long as the correct proportions are maintained and the certification mark remains legible.

(2) A border of clear space must surround the certification mark and must be of sufficient width to offset it from surrounding images and text and to avoid confusion. If the certification mark's color is similar to the background color of the product or packaging, the certification mark in a contrasting (i.e., black, white) color may be used.

(i) Where to obtain copies of the certification mark artwork. The certification mark artwork is available at the USDA BioPreferred Program Web site http://www.biopreferred.gov.