By Dan Nosowitz| May 8, 2015
There is perhaps no topic more full of confident people shouting diametrically opposed, yet somehow totally scientifically valid, viewpoints back and forth at each other than food. Whether it’s a debate over toxins, trendy diets, cleanses, or raw milk, everyone is very sure that he or she is correct and that everyone else is wrong—and the person on the other side of the fence feels the same way.
Not only does this play out in health-food stores and Internet comment sections—the dynamic is a part of how federal organic standards are determined.
Case in point: In late April, the National Organic Standards Board, a 15-person board appointed by the secretary of agriculture, recommended to the Department of Agriculture that hydroponics, a method for growing plants in a nutrient-rich water solution instead of soil, be banned from receiving official organic certification. The USDA promptly ignored the recommendation, which has organic advocates furious. “This is kind of the proverbial Soylent Green in terms of a plant,” said Mark Kastel, an organic advocate and cofounder of the nonprofit farm group the Cornucopia Institute.
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