This printable supports Common Core ELA Standards ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2, ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4, and ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6

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Different Opinions (Grade 10)

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Different Opinions

Organic or Local?
by Dave McCaul

The demand for organic foods has grown out of a need to preserve our natural environment. When we see a bag of carrots that is labeled organic, we know that the carrots were grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And so we choose these carrots and ignore the ones in the next aisle, which bear no "organic" label. But is buying organic always the best choice for the environment?

The answer, surprisingly, is no. While "organic" labels are certainly helpful, they simply do not give consumers sufficient information. To explain why, we can use the above-mentioned example of the carrots. Let's say the organic carrots were grown in Mexico while the unlabeled carrots were grown within ten miles of the grocery store. Now, consider the long journey those organic carrots made from Mexico to the grocery store. Most likely they were transported on trucks for hundreds, if not thousands of miles. The fuel used in transporting these carrots resulted in CO2 emissions, which are harmful to the environment.

Another thing to consider is that some foods are grown organically but do not have an "organic" label. Farmers have to submit to a strict certification process in order to label their foods as "organic." Just because a farm does not meet the certification standards does not necessarily mean that they use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

As consumers, we have the right to know how and where our foods were grown.
Unfortunately, an "organic" label does not give us enough information to make an informed decision. Thus, we should demand better labeling. Grocers know where their products come from. And if they know, why shouldn't we? The best way to advocate change is to talk to local grocers. It might also help to write the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Someday, perhaps, we'll know the whole story about the foods we choose to consume.
What solution does the author present to remedy the problem?
  1. He states that people should stop buying organic foods.
  2. He states that people should talk to local grocers.
  3. The author does not offer a solution to the problem.
  4. He states that farmers should stop using pesticides.
According to the author, is organic always better?

What is the central idea of the passage?

Can something be organic even if it is not officially labeled organic?

How does the author open up the article?
  1. By defining what it means to be organic
  2. By promoting local farmers
  3. By describing a typical shopping experience
  4. By quoting an organic farmer
If you were to present this information through film, what format would you use to present it? (For example: documentary, news story, etc.) Why?

Deciphering food labels and marketing claims can be a challenge for the average consumer. Companies use production and handling claims as a way to differentiate their products in the marketplace. Organic is one label that most consumers are familiar with, but understanding what “organic” really means can help consumers make informed choices.

USDA certified organic products have strict production and labeling requirements. The U.S. organic industry is regulated by the National Organic Program (NOP), part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Certified organic products are produced without excluded methods such as genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The organic standards are designed to allow natural substances in organic farming while prohibiting synthetic substances.

There are four distinct labeling categories for certified organic food products – 100% Organic, Organic, Made with organic ***, and specific organic ingredients. There are also labeling requirements for organic livestock feed. Today, I wanted to talk more about the “Made with organic***” category.

Multi-ingredient agricultural products in the “Made with organic ***” category must contain at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients (not including salt or water). These products may contain up to 30 percent of allowed non-organic ingredients. All ingredients – including the 30 percent non-organic ingredients – must be produced without GMOs or other prohibited substances such as most synthetic pesticides.

If a product meets these requirements, its label may include a statement like, “Made with organic oats and cranberries.” A more generic statement like, “Made with organic ingredients,” is not allowed.

An excerpt from:
Based on the passage, consumers can trust that a product labeled as organic is truly organic.
  1. True
  2. False
The focus of buying organic foods is ensuring foods were produced locally.
  1. True
  2. False
All products labeled "made with organic" are entirely free from synthetic pesticides.
  1. True
  2. False
The passage seeks to...
  1. Define what it means to buy organic foods
  2. Educate consumers about organic labeling
  3. Explain the problems with buying organic
  4. Argue that the organic labeling system needs work

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