The Obama administration is throwing out food labeling rules proposed by the Agriculture Department just before George W. Bush left office, saying it wants labels for fresh meat and other foods that would show more clearly where an animal or food came from, according to consumer groups who've been briefed on the issue.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told several consumer groups Tuesday in a conference call that he will ask the meat industry to voluntarily follow stricter guidelines for new package labels designed to specify a food's country of origin, according to three people who were on the call. If the industry does not comply, the administration will write new rules, according to those who spoke with Vilsack.
The labeling requirements, which would apply to fresh meats and some perishable fruits and vegetables, long have been debated in Congress and were enacted as part of a wide-ranging farm bill last year. While the meat industry and retailers responsible for the labels have protested the changes — saying they are burdensome and could lead to higher prices — consumer groups and northern states ranchers who compete with the Canadian beef industry favor them.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
More Good Change
It's about time, as we are behind the rest of the civilized world by a decade or more. Consumers deserve the right to know the details about the food they buy. When you consider the food related issues from China and other countries last year, country of origin is important. One of the reasons I am willing to spend a lot more on food at Whole Foods is their origin labeling. I like to know where my food comes from. I can't make an informed decision about buying without knowing where its from or how far it has traveled to get here.