Country of origin

Congress is getting into the act over whether or not to require country-of-origin labeling on packaging. Rep. Sonny Bono (R-CA) introduced a bill mandating country of origin labeling for produce at the retail level, while Sen.

Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced another measure requiring labels on imported meat and meat products to list the country of origin. Labeling bills are strongly supported by domestic growers and other producers who would face less competition, though they are portraying the legislation as a food safety issue. Retailers, processors and manufacturers of meat products, however, say country of origin labeling will add more costs without improving food safety. Meanwhile, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) is urging Congress to press the U.S. Customs Service to withdraw its proposed rule to mandate front-panel country of origin marking for frozen produce with imported content. AFFI says the requirement would harm the international trade of frozen produce and set the stage for further regulation of other classes of imported goods.

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