From the Consumer Federation of America earlier this week:
Survey results, released today by the Consumer Federation of America, show that a large majority of Americans continue to strongly support mandatory country of origin labeling for fresh meat and strongly favor requiring meat to be labeled with even more specific information about where the animals were born, raised and processed.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson was quick to tout the survey findings.
“The survey results are a further indication of what we have known for some time: Consumers overwhelmingly want to know more about the origins of their food, and farmers and ranchers want to provide this information,” said Johnson.” These findings, coupled with the recent withdrawal of two short-sighted amendments to the Senate and House’s respective farm bills that would have negatively impacted Country-of-Origin Labeling, are promising indications that country-of-origin labeling is vitally important and here to stay.”
CFA’s survey also found that 87 percent of respondents favor USDA requiring labels on meat which state in which country or countries the animal was born, raised and processed. In some cases, animals processed for consumer food products may actually be born in one country and raised and/or processed in different nations.
Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling, also known as COOL, was passed as a part of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and amended in the 2008 Farm Bill, going into effect in 2008, with regulations being put forward in 2009.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently required the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) to adjust its rules requiring American retailers to label certain foods with the country (or countries) in which the animals are born, raised, or slaughtered. The WTO said that while the United States can require meat labeling, current U.S. COOL rules do not meet WTO standards. The WTO has given the United States until May 23, 2013, to bring its COOL rules into compliance.
On March 8, USDA submitted a proposed amended rule on COOL compliance to bring the U.S. into compliance with WTO. You can follow the process and view comments which were submitted on the proposed rule here.
The telephone survey was undertaken by ORC International May 9 – 12 , 2013, using a split sample of landlines and cell phones. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. The survey results are available here and the survey methodology is available here .