Opposing Country of Origin Labeling
The proposed farm bill, pork-laden though it is, contains something most Americans will welcome, additional country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements. A number of products remain excluded, but at least there’s progress. First, a bit of background on why some labels show where a product comes from and others don’t…
Some labels already disclose the information. The Tariff Act of 1930 requires it for many products, including processed foods, toys, vehicle tires and appliances. … Also, some suppliers–notably of fresh fruits–voluntarily affix country-of-origin stickers, so consumers know that their shelves hold apples from Chile, pears from Argentina and American nectarines.
But the existing rules are not enough for some farmers and consumers, who have been pushing for decades for a law to fill the gaps. They won a partial victory with the passage of the 2002 Farm Bill, which required country-of-origin labeling on fresh meats, seafood, produce and peanuts but exempted poultry and poultry products, tree nuts and any food processed in the United States with imported ingredients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture got the job of crafting specific regulations under the bill and putting them into effect by Sept. 30, 2004.