Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Food Labels Must Have Origin

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Illnesses thought to be caused by contaminated food have been making headlines in the past few years. Remember the spinach, tomato, pepper, and beef scares?

A new labeling law has been passed that requires certain food to identify the "country of origin." This law was actually passed in 2002, but only now is being enforced with the more recent passing of the updated Farm Bill.

Not all foods will have this label. The following is a list of foods that will have the country of origin label:
  • beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat meat, perishable agricultural commodities, peanuts, pecans, ginseng, and macadamia nuts.
With the country of origin stamped on the foods, consumers are able to decide for themselves if they want their peppers from Mexico or not. Processed foods do not require a label. Foods used as ingredients in other products also do not need this label.

I think this is a step in the right direction to give consumers more information. However, I think a better tracing system needs to be evaluated so we don't throw out millions of tomatoes next time they are "suspect" in an outbreak.

For more information, check out this link to the United States Department of Agriculture's Common Questions on Country of Origin Labels

Also check out this brochure on origin labels on meat products
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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