In the wake of the economic downturn, not only has the organics industry lost a significant share of customers, but it's been plagued by scandal as well. The natural foods industry was also the subject of debate when a recent UK study found that organic food is no healthier than conventional. Now, the US Department of Agriculture, hoping to address the ongoing organics problems, has ordered an audit of its National Organic Program (NOP), the organization that sets standards for organic products in America. The review, to be performed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, will examine whether the program is using internationally recognized standards for overseeing its network of almost 100 private certifiers, all of which have authority to determine whether foods meet federal organic standards.
Will an audit of the National Organic Program put questions about organic standards to rest? Do organic foods have a higher nutritional content than their conventional counterparts?