by Grant Hodge, Sustainable Plant Systems major
A very debatable topic a few years ago was the country of origin labeling laws (COOL) for food products. This law was passed back in 2002 and was revised in 2008. Then a couple of years ago, in 2015 this law was repealed. Hearing about it on RFDTV I did not fully understand the law at the time but the argument here is that some people want their food, particularly meat to be labeled with the name of the country that it originated from.
If you are like me, your first thought is wondering what the big deal is here? It should not be a big deal to add a couple of words to a food package that already contains hundreds of words already. In fact as many of us know, this is a common practice for many other electronic, plastic, and household goods that usually contain the words “Made in China” and so why can’t our food be labeled with something similar? As I researched farther into this topic I discovered that there is a lot more that goes into those few small words.
To start off with, money is a huge part of it. To implement this labeling and the added record keeping required, the USDA estimated this could cost up to $3.9 billion in the first year. The second big argument is that this labeling will hurt other countries products. They fear that the label will imply that the quality is not as good, even though the meat must pass the same quality standards as domestic meat (Country of Origin Labeling 2017).
I personally support COOL because I think it allows our meat produced in the U.S. to stand out competitively. In this modern world the trend has been for consumers to know more and more about what goes into their food and this labeling helps satisfy that want. I think the labeling can create more demand for U.S. meats and hopefully more profit for the producers and result in a happier consumer.
“Country of Origin Labeling.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2017. Web. 15 June 2017. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_of_Origin_Labeling>.
This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.