CFA Supports Bono/Hooley COOL Enhancement Act

March 18, 2004
Chris Waldrop

Consumer Federation of America is happy to support the Country of Origin Labeling Enhancement Act, which Congresswomen Bono and Hooley are introducing today.

Consumer Federation is a nonprofit association of 300 consumer groups, representing more than 50 million Americans nationwide. CFA's policy resolutions have long supported country-of-origin labeling of meat, poultry, seafood and fresh produce because it would provide consumers important additional information about the source of their food.

Consumers want and need this information in order to make educated decisions about the foods they are buying in the grocery store. Most of the consumer goods we purchase have labels telling us where they are from. We know where our cars and electronics are made. We know the origin of the clothes we put on our backs. Why can't we know the origin of the food we put in our mouths?

Events of the past several months, the BSE-infected Canadian cow and Mexican scallions contaminated with Hepatitis A, further justify a desire to be able to identify the source of our food. We know that some countries simply do not have sanitation systems that provide the level of protection Americans want. Without country-of-origin labeling, consumers are unable to make an informed choice between U.S. and imported products.

Industry opponents have claimed that country of origin labeling is too cumbersome and places too heavy a burden on retailers. With this amendment, Congresswomen Bono and Hooley have satisfactorily addressed those claims.

Country of origin labeling has been delayed for entirely too long. Congress should act quickly to re-instate this important program.

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Chris Waldrop is Health and Safety Associate for the Consumer Federation of America.