Will hydroponic produce get to keep its organic certification?

According to fooddive.com by Keith Loria: One of the most contentious ideas before the National Organic Standards Board at its last meeting was whether to require organic crops to be grown in soil — not hydroponically. After much discussion, the issue was tabled and sent to a subcommittee for more research.

It’s an issue that has been making plenty of news. Five months ago, the Cornucopia Institute filed a legal complaint against the USDA and other major agribusinesses and organic certifying agents claiming illegal labeling on hydroponic produce sold as certified organic. Other groups feel that when produce is not grown in soil, it is not truly organic.

Now, it looks like the NOSB will make some sort of recommendation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in two weeks. The NOSB’s recommendation is nonbinding, but will strongly influence organic policy decisions made by USDA.

If the NOSB recommends banning the labeling for hydroponic-grown crops as organic, it could have devastating effects on these growers. Many rely on the higher prices that organic foods bring in and have transitioned their produce to being grown this way.

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