NFU applauded the results of a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America that found that a large majority of Americans continue to strongly support mandatory country of origin labeling.
Ninety percent of a representative sample of 1,000 adult Americans favored, either strongly or somewhat, requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country of origin of fresh meat they sell. Additionally, 87 percent of adults favored, either strongly or somewhat, requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country or countries in which animals were born, raised and processed. The poll also found that 90 percent of adults favored, either strongly or somewhat, requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country or countries in which animals were born and raised and the fact that the meat was processed in the United States..
“The survey results are a further indication of what we have known for some time: Consumers overwhelmingly want to know more about the origins of their food, and farmers and ranchers want to provide this information,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. ”These findings, coupled with the recent withdrawal of two short-sighted amendments to the Senate and House’s respective farm bills that would have negatively impacted Country-of-Origin Labeling, are promising indications that country-of-origin labeling is vitally important and here to stay.”
Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling, also known as COOL, was passed as a part of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and amended in the 2008 Farm Bill, going into effect in 2008, with regulations being put forward in 2009.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently required the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) to adjust its rules requiring American retailers to label certain foods with the country (or countries) in which the animals are born, raised, or slaughtered. The WTO said that while the United States can require meat labeling, current U.S. COOL rules do not meet WTO standards. The WTO has given the United States until May 23, 2013, to bring its COOL rules into compliance.
The telephone survey was undertaken by ORC International May 9 to 12, 2013, using a split sample of landlines and cell phones. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. The survey results are available here and the survey methodology is available here.