COOL labeling session set

STREET REPAIR  —  Curtiss Ries in the foreground and Dru Gunderson just behind him throws down asphalt to be smoothed out on a section of 4th Ave. SE between Main and Front streets.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler





By Maggie Nutter

Have you picked up and read the label on your grapes lately?Were they grown in California or did they come from Chili or Mexico? Now check out the bananas where did they come from Guatemala, Costa Rica, orMexico perhaps?

When you read these labels what you are looking at is our Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) laws in effect.

COOL is all about consumer information. Telling the person purchasing the product where it came from and sometimes where it was processed. U.S. Country of Origin Labeling laws cover meats, fish and shellfish, fresh produce and some nuts. You can read the rules at the USDA Agriculture Marketing Services Website.

Marias River Livestock Associationis hosting a Question and Answer Session with Jess Peterson, United States Cattleman’s Association (USCA) Executive Vice President, in Shelby at the Marias Fair Grounds Exhibit Building, Aug. 26 at 10:30 a.m. to talk about COOL, how it affects the consumer and the rancher. There will be a second Question and Answer Session in Valier at the Civic Center at 3.p.m.

This is an educational outreach for the public and livestock producers. Peterson is willing and very open to questions and wants people to feel free to ask any question about COOL.Education on the issue allows people to make a wise decision to support or oppose COOL.There will also be information and opportunity to donate to the “COOL Defense Fund” for those who feel lead to do so.

Surveys show that people like to know where their food comes from.FDA Food Label Use Health/Diet Awareness Survey showed that more than half of consumers in the U.S. often read the label when buying a food product for the first time.

Right now there is a big debate going on about whether Country of Origin Labeling of meat is good or bad and how it affects the United States trade relationships with other countries. One side says “Beef is beef it doesn’t matter where it came from.” The other side says, “Consumers have the right to know where their meat was raised and processed and that it is good for the US food producer to state his product is homegrown”

Peterson and the USCA are very avid supporters of Country of Origin Labeling. The USCA believes that many people are mislead by the USDA inspection stamp on meat. Many consumers think if it is USDA stamped it must be U.S. meat, but imported meat is also USDA stamped and inspected.Peterson maintains COOL will help to clarify this misconception by stating where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

Opponents of COOL state it is just more Government regulation in an already over regulated industry.That Country of Origin Labeling could hurt our trade relationships with other countries, especially Canada and Mexico and do we really want the U.S. Government involved in marketing our products.

Editor’s note: for more information visit the Internet site .