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Diet Diva

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

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New Labeling Law Today

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The new Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) food labeling law goes into effect today. This new law covers meats, fish, shellfish, and perishable agricultural products like fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, and certain nuts like macadamia nuts, pecans, peanuts, and also ginseng. It requires that these foods list the country that they came from. If an animal was born in one country but raised in another, they must list both countries on the label. Fish and shellfish will have to say whether it is farmed or wild.

Commodities are excluded from COOL law if they have been processed. If it has been cooked, cured, smoked or combined with other foods like being breaded, or covered in sauces or chocolate then that food is exempt from the COOL law.

USDA is estimating that this will cost $2.5 Billion to implement this new law just this year! It means that farmers have to keep closer records, keep animals from different origins separate, and make sure they are labeling accurately. Who is going to pay for this? I can't imagine that at least some of the cost will not trickle down to the consumer.

Benefits of COOL
Many people are becoming more aware of where their food is coming from. This enables us to really know if something was grown, or in the case of meats, born and raised in the US. People who want to support US grown foods can do this much more easily. This may also allow the USDA better control over food safety. Already any meat that is brought into the US goes under tight controls but this will allow even more oversight.

What do you think of the COOL law?
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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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