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Organic Consumers Association

Meat Labels Will Now Show You Where Your Meat Came From

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's CAFO's vs. Free Range page.

You may be in for a surprise the next time you buy meat from your local supermarket. The package will now be required to label where the animal that provided your meat was born, raised, and slaughtered.

This is an improvement from the original Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule, which was approved in 2002 and took effect in 2008. That law required only the country of origin to be listed on food labels.

As of late November 2013, however, you will be able to track all stages of your meat's whereabouts, from birth to slaughter, a major victory for consumers who wish to know where their food comes from. And already, the rule is prompting significant changes for the meat industry

Industrial Meat Producers Fought Against the New Labeling Rule

Tyson, Cargill, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association were among those who spoke out against the new rule, calling it unnecessarily costly and "short-sighted," while fearing it will shrink demand for imported meat.

More aptly, you may shun meats that come from far away places, or those that seemed to be world travelers before coming to the US. Arguably, the more "hands" any food touches, and the more elaborate its production processes, the greater the risk of contamination becomes, as contamination can occur at each and every stage of production and transportation.

Industrial meat producers are those much more likely to be bringing in cows or other animals from other countries, which is why they're so opposed to the labeling rule.

A small grass-fed farmer would have no reason to object to the rule, which is probably why the head of the American Grassfeed Association noted that "the meat business needs more transparency, not less."     


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