Country of Origin Labeling needs to be COOL-er
With the on-going threats of contaminated imports into the United States, it would make sense if all foods contained Country of Origin of ingredients information. ‘Make sense’ are key words here; there is little ‘sense’ to be made from the known risk of some imports being consumed on a daily basis by uninformed consumers.
Country of Origin labeling laws have been updated, but only a tiny portion of foods are providing this vital information. The COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) Law was implemented in September 2008, but it only covers beef, lamb, pork, fish, perishable agriculture products (fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables) and peanuts. Unfortunately the COOL law does not cover grains or grain products (or any vegetable protein) – which historically are the leading ingredients responsible for pet food recalls.
It should be a simple matter for the FDA to provide consumers Country of Origin of ingredients, thanks to the Internet. Every import shipment that comes into the United States must file various documents with U.S. Customs (Customs Entry Documents), most of which are received electronically. It ‘makes sense’ that these entry documents would be made easily accessible to concerned consumers.
The FDA website is full of pages explaining import procedures, however no pages can be found that provide import records. Although these documents should be public domain, concerned consumers are forced to pay for such records. For consumers who might choose to purchase such documents, the next dilemma would be incomplete information.
As an example, pretend pet food manufacturer ABC Pet Foods, imports various ingredients from China. However, import documents do not mention ABC Pet Foods on the Customs Entry Documents. The documents list XYZ Imports, a U.S. supplier of imported food ingredients. XYZ Imports DOES have records that ABC Pet Foods purchased Chinese imported ingredients (invoice records); unfortunately consumers are not provided access to these.
Without many complications, Country of Origin information could be provided to consumers on every single food, and/or every single ingredient within foods via a consumer website. There is simply no excuse that this information is not provided to consumers; a simple software program could gather all the data and compile it into food groups and product names. Considering the recent melamine poisonings alone, the benefit to consumers would be tremendous.
Washington needs to re-examine the COOL Law, and make it cooler.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients? Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
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