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Origin labeling proposal under fire

The food industry is stepping up its efforts to quash once and for all efforts by the U.S. Customs Service to require country of origin marking on the front panels of packages of frozen fruits and vegetables.

The American Frozen Food Institute and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) submitted formal comments to Customs in which they shot down Customs' rationale for demanding changes that would cost the food industry millions of dollars to comply. Customs had argued the country of origin should be listed on the front panel because the coldness of frozen packages discourages consumers from looking at rear or side panels. FMI said front panel marking would be "extremely detrimental to consumers because it will confuse them and distract them from more important ingredient and nutrition information on the back and side panels of the label."

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