Country of origin on food labels?

Country of origin labelling on food products

Just read in the paper this morning that American shoppers will soon see more foods at the grocery store labelled with country of origin.

That’s good news for anyone who has ever wondered where things actually come from – and with each international food scare, like the latest tainted milk powder scandal from China, more people join that crowd.

But what does it actually mean?

Does it mean country of origin labelling (COOL) for every single ingredient in a processed food product? Or just the major ingredient? Or does it simply apply to fresh produce, fruits and meat? Guess I’ll have to do a little more reading on that front to see what this actually means.

And that begs another question, this one on the meat side. If, for example, a piglet is born and weaned in Canada and is then sent to a farm in the US where it is raised to market weight before being processed – is the pork from that animal a product of Canada or a product of the USA?

In Canada, until recently products were able to be labelled as product of Canada if 51% of the “transformation” (processing) happened in Canada, regardless of the actual origin of the ingredients. The federal government announced changes this past spring that will put an end to that practice. Instead, if a product is made with foreign ingredients, the label will say “Made in Canada with imported ingredients.”

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