Globe-Trotting for Groceries

Your meal: not necessarily made in the USA


| March / April 2006


Open your refrigerator and take a look around. Do you know where the apples in the crisper came from? New Hampshire, or New Zealand? Did you know that the package of ground beef in your freezer may contain animal parts from as many as 20 different countries?

We stamp 'Made in the USA' on blue jeans, diapers, and cars, but most Americans have no clue where their food was grown. That could change if Congress passes -- and enforces -- a rule in the 2007 Farm Bill called Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL.

In 2002, after considerable lobbying efforts from sustainable-farming advocates, Congress passed COOL legislation. The rule required labels on beef, lamb, pork, fish, peanuts, and perishable agricultural commodities by September 2004. But, under pressure from agribusiness, Congress has delayed implementation again and again.

Activists are going to push for COOL again in 2007, but they are likely to see fierce opposition from industry groups. John Tyson, CEO of Tyson Foods, has spoken out publicly against COOL, saying implementing the rule would be costly and would 'penalize' U.S. producers and retailers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture determined that COOL would cost the food industry almost $2 billion in paperwork in the first year of implementation -- a figure that the General Accounting Office found 'questionable and not well supported.'



Companies that oppose COOL are probably also concerned about how labeling might affect their public images and sales. The meat industry has acknowledged that U.S. consumers might avoid buying meat from other countries, fearing that it would be less safe.

'If you're a large corporation, you're concerned about COOL because it begins to pull the veil back on how you do business,' says Brian Snyder of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Food corporations are depending more and more on foreign production, which is cheaper and, some believe, of questionable quality.














Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265