This the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
It can be hard to decide which foods to buy in an American grocery store
these days. The information on many products makes different claims. These
labels suggest that the food is safe, pure or kind to animals.
The label "organic" guarantees that the United States Department of
Agriculture recognizes the product was grown under special conditions. The
department says foods that meet requirements of its National Organic Program can
use an official label. It shows the words "USDA Organic" inside a circle.
For example, U.S.D.A. organic food does not contain genes that have been
scientifically changed. The food is grown without chemical treatments against
insects or disease. It is grown without chemical fertilizers.
The U.S.D.A. organic label on meat and dairy products guarantees that they
are from animals that live much of the time outdoors. The animals have been fed
only organic food. The animals have not received antibiotic drugs. And they have
not had hormone substances to make them grow bigger.
Organic meat and dairy products usually cost more than other products. But
many people buy them because they believe they are more healthful.
The U.S.D.A. is trying to decide if fish can be labeled "organic." A decision
is not expected for many months. However, the Marine Stewardship Council says
its label promises that fish are not endangered and were caught without harming
the local ecosystem.
There are also labels on coffee. Some coffee growers plant their crops on
land with no natural plants to provide shade from the sun. Other coffee is grown
under trees that provide shade for the coffee and homes for birds. This coffee
is labeled "Bird Friendly." The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Council of the
National Zoo in Washington, D.C., guarantees coffee with the "Bird Friendly"
Other food labels include "natural," "cage-free" and "free-range." Experts
say it may be harder for the food buyer to decide what these mean. For example,
chickens may not have been raised in a cage. Still, they may have been in
overcrowded conditions inside a building.
The Department of Agriculture will be holding meetings with food producers
and the public to try to develop requirements for labels.
And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn
Watson. Transcripts and audio files of our reports are on our Web site,
voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.
conducive to health（有益健康的）