News 286 views update:Sep 18, 2008

Country-of-origin labels to be required

Starting Sept. 30, food manufacturers and grocery stores in the US have to comply with a new federal law that requires "Country of Origin Labelling," or COOL, on beef, pork, chicken and lamb.

The new labels will tell consumers whether their food came from animals raised in the US or another country. Consumers can now pick meats and other foods originating from countries they think are reliable in terms of food safety. It also will allow consumers to stick to American-grown food, if that is their preference.
Because of the complexities of the livestock industry, some product labels may list multiple countries, which can be the case with ground beef, because some meat processors combine cuts from a number of countries to make ground meat and hamburger patties.
Many in the meat industry have fought the new labelling law because they don't want consumers to know that they're buying imported cuts.
The USDA also stood against COOL, because of its projected impact on consumers and its estimated cost to the food industry - $2.5 bln in the first year.
But Congress has decreed that COOL will take effect on 30 Sept, so the debate over its merits is largely over. Now the industry is bracing for COOL's impact.

Editor WorldPoultry

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