Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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A COOL New Rule

9/12/2008 5:11:41 PM

Tags: food and agricultural policy

Soon, you’ll be seeing a new label on fresh meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables, peanuts and certain nuts in your supermarket. Country of origin labeling will be mandatory beginning Sept. 30, with a few exceptions. Click here for a report from Consumers Union that includes the good and bad news about the new rule, as well as which products require labels and which do not. What do you think? Victory for consumers everywhere, or pointless strain on processors?

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David Guirl
9/22/2008 10:27:08 PM
There are good and bad things to this new rule. Australia has a similar rule for its fresh market seafood. While I was there in 2007, there were news reports of sellers mis-labeling products as Australian when they actually were not. The system relied on sellers to organize the seafood under their own labeled sections rather than having each package labeled. This made it very easy to view while shopping without having to squint down at a label (especially if it is behind glass). It sounds like the U.S. rule will have the country of origin on each individual package, putting more strain on processors but decreasing the possibility of mis-labeling. There are also monitoring/verification implications, which can make the process even more inefficient. I am excited to check out where the meat I buy comes from, and I do believe it will influence my purchase decision. I wish the rule would go one step further and add the State or Province (if applicable) as well, since buying local products is very important to me. All in all, I think it is a worthwhile change to benefit the consumer, even if increased production/labeling costs are passed onto the consumer (hopefully this is minimal or restricted by the rule).

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