Mandatory country-of-origin labeling began yesterday.
This long-awaited legislation requires that all meat, poultry, produce, and peanuts sold in the US be marked with a label stating the product's country of origin. Meat and poultry sold in butcher shops, fish sold in fish markets, and processed foods (roasted peanuts and peanut butter, for example) are exempt from the rules.
The goal is to inform consumers and to make it easier to identify and trace the source of any food safety issues.
Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union, said in a press release: This is a long-awaited change and we think it will be a great benefit for consumers. If a food safety problem is identified in a particular imported product, as happened with jalapeño and serrano peppers from Mexico earlier this year, then consumers will be able to avoid that product. On the other hand, some people like to buy certain imported products, like New Zealand lamb or Holland tomatoes. Still others just want to buy local produce. Either way, the new labels will give consumers important new information.
Consumers Union has developed an online tool, which you can find on their website, to help consumers understand the new rules.
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