For many agricultural products in food marketplaces, manufacturers are required to include the ingredients' country of origin. Despite lobbying from consumer groups and politicians, there are some interest groups in Washington, D.C. that are interested in seeing the standard diminished.
Many meat and poultry products carry the label element known as a country-of-origin label (COOL). Congress passed standards in 2002 and 2008 that require companies to cite this information publicly for consumer awareness. The measure was overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and gives customers insight into where animal products were born, raised and slaughtered, according to Consumer Reports.
As an organization that seeks to give transparency to consumers, Consumers Union stated that it opposes the push to eliminate COOL. It mentioned that the pressure came from international suppliers in Canada and Mexico, some of whom oppose the COOL signification. So far, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to repeal the requirements, setting a problematic precedent for transparency.
"We don't think that Congress should be intimidated by other countries' efforts to water down our labeling standards and repeal country-of-origin labeling. This week, Consumers Union sent a letter to the House of Representatives cautioning them from doing away with the labeling standards and, rather, urging the U.S. to negotiate a settlement with Mexico and Canada."
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