Trying to understand food labels
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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 genes1 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 antibiotic2 drugs. And they have not had hormone3 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 morehealthful.

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 Marine4 Stewardship5 Council says its label promises that fish are not endangered and were caught without harming the local ecosystem6.

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 Migratory7 Bird Council of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., guarantees coffee with the "Bird Friendly" label.

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. Transcripts8 and audio files of our reports are on our Web site, I'm Steve Ember.

healthful: conducive to health(有益健康的)


1 genes 01914f8eac35d7e14afa065217edd8c0     
n.基因( gene的名词复数 )
  • You have good genes from your parents, so you should live a long time. 你从父母那儿获得优良的基因,所以能够活得很长。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Differences will help to reveal the functions of the genes. 它们间的差异将会帮助我们揭开基因多种功能。 来自英汉非文学 - 生命科学 - 生物技术的世纪
2 antibiotic KNJzd     
  • The doctor said that I should take some antibiotic.医生说我应该服些用抗生素。
  • Antibiotic can be used against infection.抗菌素可以用来防止感染。
3 hormone uyky3     
  • Hormone implants are used as growth boosters.激素植入物被用作生长辅助剂。
  • This hormone interacts closely with other hormones in the body.这种荷尔蒙与体內其他荷尔蒙紧密地相互作用。
4 marine 77Izo     
  • Marine creatures are those which live in the sea. 海洋生物是生存在海里的生物。
  • When the war broke out,he volunteered for the Marine Corps.战争爆发时,他自愿参加了海军陆战队。
5 stewardship 67597d4670d772414c8766d094e5851d     
n. n. 管理工作;管事人的职位及职责
  • The organization certainly prospered under his stewardship. 不可否认,这个组织在他的管理下兴旺了起来。
  • Last, but certainly not least, are the issues of stewardship and ethics. 最后,但当然不是微不足道的,是工作和道德规范的问题。
6 ecosystem Wq4xz     
  • This destroyed the ecosystem of the island.这样破坏了岛上的生态系统。
  • We all have an interest in maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem.维持生态系统的完整是我们共同的利益。
7 migratory jwQyB     
  • Many migratory birds visit this lake annually.许多候鸟每年到这个湖上作短期逗留。
  • This does not negate the idea of migratory aptitude.这并没有否定迁移能力这一概念。
8 transcripts 525c0b10bb61e5ddfdd47d7faa92db26     
n.抄本( transcript的名词复数 );转写本;文字本;副本
  • Like mRNA, both tRNA and rRNA are transcripts of chromosomal DNA. tRNA及rRNA同mRNA一样,都是染色体DNA的转录产物。 来自辞典例句
  • You can't take the transfer students'exam without your transcripts. 没有成绩证明书,你就不能参加转学考试。 来自辞典例句