Country of origin information needs to be a significant part of product traceability

November 16th, 2009

One forward one back reporting is not enough if we plan to limit food borne illness outbreaks and other product issues that continue to put consumers and companies at risk.

According to Wikipedia, Country of origin (COO) is the country of manufacture, production, or growth where a product comes from.

The Obama administration continues to seek tougher labeling laws on fresh meat and other food products from Canada. Canada continues to be an opponent to country of origin labeling. Mexico our other NAFTA partner also does not support this type of labeling and has actually filed protests with the World Trade Organization.

It troubles this author when North America has suffered the several of the largest food borne illness outbreaks in decades during the last two years that our local trading partners ignore this critical step in product traceability.

What we clearly continue to require is specific country of origin labeling. Standards tend to be inconsistent from country to country. By example products enter North America from Europe that may carry country of origin labeling like ?Europe? or ?EU? rather than specific labeling indicating a product comes from France or Germany.

Manufactured products create a more unique issue, as individual products may include up to hundreds of components, pieces and parts from dozens of countries and assembled in other countries. While this issue requires significant work, there is absolutely no reason that we can not include country of origin labeling on all food products that enter our country.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

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