I am speaking with Scott Barton about global food politics and corporate opportunism. “Attendance is open to all and the spirit, as always at Symposium events, will be as co-operative, lively and inclusive as possible.” Register here. This is at 2:00 p.m. East Coast time.
Country-of-origin labels at long last (sort of)
While the U.S. economy is falling into the tank, it helps to think of cheerier topics. This very day, after years of delay, mandatory country-of-origin labeling (M-COOL) supposedly goes into effect. The “supposedly” is because M-COOL still faces so much opposition. If the experience with fish COOL is any indication, we will see lots of passive ignoring of the rules.
The legislation requires grocery stores to say where a motley collection of foods – beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, macadamia nuts, pecans, peanuts, and ginseng – were raised or grown. This is great but you can drive a truck through the loopholes. Excluded are food service, processed foods, Internet sales, and butcher shop sales. And then there’s the 6-month grace period. Here again is Consumer Reports’ guide to the exceptions.
If you don’t see COOL on products that are supposed to have such labels, ask why they aren’t there. Tell the store managers you want to know where your food comes from and remind them that they are required by law to tell you.