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What does the organic label mean?

Question: What does the “organic” label mean?

 

Marion Nestle: Organic is not a matter of belief. Organic is codified, regulated, and its definition is established by the Department of Agriculture. So in the United States organic means vegetable crops that are produced under conditions in which there is no fertilizers, no artificial pesticides, and none of those kind of inputs. And they’re not genetically modified, or radiated, or fertilized with sewage sludge. Very clear definition. Animals must be fed organic feed.

They must be allowed access to the outdoors. And there are some other rules that . . . that define that. And in order for a company to get a certified organic seal on their product, they must follow those rules and be inspected to make sure they follow those rules. And almost everybody that I know who is involved in the organic industry says the rules are followed, there’s very little cheating, and that in fact the system is pretty tight in following the rules.

The big question is whether those rules make any sense or not; and whether they’re good enough, strong enough, and meaningful enough, with the most obvious loophole being about animals having access to the outdoors. The rule doesn’t say they have to be outdoors. The rule just says they have to have access to the outdoors. That’s a loophole.

 

January 18, 2008

 

Nestle discusses the standards - and the loopholes.

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

Credit: Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
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White dwarfs hold key to life in the universe, suggests study

New study shows white dwarf stars create an essential component of life.

NASA and H. Richer (University of British Columbia)
Surprising Science
  • White dwarf stars create carbon atoms in the Milky Way galaxy, shows new study.
  • Carbon is an essential component of life.
  • White dwarfs make carbon in their hot insides before the stars die.
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3 highlights from Penn Jillette's Big Think interview on 2020, cancel culture, and friendship

The renowned magician recently joined Big Think CEO and cofounder Victoria Brown for a wide-ranging discussion.

Big Think Edge
Culture & Religion
  • Penn Jillette is an American magician best known for his work as part of the magic duo Penn and Teller.
  • Jillette has also written eight books, co-hosted the Showtime show "Bullshit," and produced the film "Tim's Vermeer."
  • In the interview, Jillette talks about how libertarianism has been distorted in the U.S., and why the democratization of media hasn't produced a utopia.
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Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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"Forced empathy" is a powerful negotiation tool. Here's how to do it.

Master negotiator Chris Voss breaks down how to get what you want during negotiations.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Personal Growth
  • Former FBI negotiator Chris Voss explains how forced empathy is a powerful negotiating tactic.
  • The key is starting a sentence with "What" or "How," causing the other person to look at the situation through your eyes.
  • What appears to signal weakness is turned into a strength when using this tactic.
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