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.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less

Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
Keep reading Show less