The U.S House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate recently voted to override a Presidential veto on the 2008 Farm Bill. Included in that legislation was a provision to ensure Country-of-Origin Labeling (C.O.O.L.) for all meats and produce produces entering the United States.
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R – CA) has been working for over 6 years to ensure that consumers have this C.O.O.L. data available to them when making purchases that can affect the health and wellness of themselves and their families. This will establish a more stringent system that indicates the origin and background of imported foods. It will force import countries and their farmers to be more accountable for products shipped to and sold in the U.S.
“Consumers deserve to know where the food they eat comes from,” said Rep. Bono Mack. “Without C.O.O.L., it is easier to find the origin of your sweatshirt than it is of your last salad. With increasing concern for food safety, mandatory country-of-origin labeling will help Americans make fully informed decisions about the fresh fruits and vegetables they buy. All too often such diseases as E. coli, salmonella and mad cow disease make their way to the dinner tables and restaurants throughout our country. Given this very real threat to public safety, it is important that Americans are aware of the origin and inspection process of their food.”
The passage of C.O.O.L. legislation goes back to its introduction by Rep. Bono Mack as a Farm Bill Amendment in 2002. Even though it was passed, it was delayed in Congressional appropriations legislation. Thus, it was introduced again in the 109th Congress. Agreement that it was an important part of the 2008 Farm Bill occurred with the Senate’s override of the President’s veto by a vote of 82 to 13. The vote in the House of Representatives to override was 316 to 108.
Knowledge of where food is grown around the world is of particular importance to consumers who are increasingly becoming educated on the health and wellness benefits and concerns regarding the food they put into their bodies. Persons with concerns regarding pesticide use in countries outside the U.S., as well as hormones and drugs used on animals grown for meat products will be the major beneficiaries of this legislation. Additionally, labeling of C.O.O.L. will provide investigators with more tools to help track down problems when they do occur with food products in the U.S.
“I am pleased that Congress has finally recognized the importance of fully enacting C.O.O.L. and ensuring that consumers can have the confidence they need when purchasing their food,” said Rep. Bono Mack. “This is a win for American consumers and farmers.”