Law For Food: The law affects what you eat. What you buy to eat affects the law.

The Farm Bill and Country of Origin Labeling
26 April 2007, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Import/Export, labeling, Regulation

The Ethicurean has an interesting article about sourcing hazelnuts from Turkey, which contains, in an aside, the following information about mandatory country of origin labeling:

Mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and peanuts (but not other nuts) was part of the Farm Bill that passed in 2002. However, after an outcry from the food industry, Congress put the program on hold for everything except seafood until 2008 (seafood labeling began in 2005). There is talk of using the 2007 Farm Bill to lift the hold on COOL (perhaps in exchange for a deal on the national animal ID system), but powerful forces are aligned against it — the big meat packers and giant chains like Wal-Mart, to name a few. COOL would require expenditures by manufacturers and might make labels more complicated, but I think that consumers deserve to know where their food comes from.

For kicks, I’m looking for any information that predicts the ways people’s buying habits would change if country of origin were written on every label.


2 Comments so far
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I have been reading bits and pieces of literature about COOL lately, and the USDA seems to think that U.S. consumers would NOT be influenced by COOL. The melamine crisis, however, might change that.

You might be find some answers to your “kicks” question in one of these documents:
* A report from USDA Economic Research Service (
* A Congressional Research Service report (

Thanks for reading Ethicurean!

a.k.a. Mental Masala at the Ethicurean, and author of the Mental Masala blog

Comment by Marc

Hey Marc,

Thanks for the info. I haven’t had time to examine those links yet but I’m excited to do so. Welcome to Law for Food: I hope you find it worth reading.

–Food Lawyer

Comment by lawforfood

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