Thursday, March 26, 2009

Country of Origin Labeling Law Effective This Week

Country of Origin Labeling Law Effective This Week
March 18, 2009

The long awaited Country of Origin Labeling Law (COOL) went into effect this week. After years of debate, now producers of fresh meats, many fruits and vegetables, and assorted other products are required to state clearly on packages where the food originates.

And as a result of the Obama administration's efforts to improve food safety, meat producers will also be required to even state where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is responsible for adding this to the policy that was written under the Bush administration.

The new law will still create some confusion for consumers as the regulations exclude a variety of foods that fall under the labeling requirement, but are considered to be processed, such as roasted peanuts, breaded chicken and bacon. The processing exemption also means that certain mixed foods, such as bagged lettuce that includes more than one variety, or frozen peas and carrots, don't have to be labeled.

Regardless of the kinks in the new law, we here at SG feel that this is a victory for consumers, as 93% of our readers in a past survey told us they wanted to know where their food comes from.

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