Organic Farming Boom

Are health and environmental claims valid?


The number of U.S. farmers seeking organic certification from the federal government is increasing amid surging public demand for organic food. Health and environmental concerns fuel much of that demand, polls show. But researchers disagree on whether crops and livestock raised organically are healthier or more environmentally friendly than those produced with conventional farming methods. The organic industry's rapid growth also has fueled debates over whether the practices of large, corporate-owned organic farms are compatible with strict animal-welfare standards and other core tenets of sustainable farming. Some organic traditionalists complain that recent regulatory moves by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — including a decision to continue certifying produce grown without soil as organic — threaten to erode consumers' trust in the agency's organic label. U.S. ...

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