No More Mystery Meat, New Labeling Law

Joe Murray, Fiesta Foods
Joe Murray, Fiesta Foods

You do not have to wonder where your food came from anymore. Starting today the United States Department of Agriculture has put a new food labeling law into effect.

It is called "COOL" or a country of origin label that is required to be on all meat, produce, and nuts starting today.

The labels are not for processed foods, meaning the food is cooked, is an ingredient in a bigger dish or noticeably changed.

"COOL" requires all retailers to keep a record of food items and where they originated.

A local grocer says it is a great idea. Joe Murray of Fiesta Foods says, "Yes I think it works as a tracking system so that if there is a problem. A good example is the problem with tomatoes. The tomato market was almost destroyed. We found out later that after do to inefficient tracking maybe it wasn't tomatoes, maybe it was jalenpenos or where did they come from. This is a law that protects the consumer."

The labeling however does not have anything to do with safety regulations. Ross Wilson the President and CEO of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association says, COOL is not a food safety issue, there are reams and reams of other laws and other regulations in the Food and Drug Administration that address food safety issues. We question how much the consumers will pay attention. It is a significant cost on the producers end of it.

Retailers have six months to get all their products labeled. But starting in April the USDA will be fining $1,000 for each violation after a warning period.

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