DeLauro: People deserve to know what country their food comes from

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes part of Shelton, is urging federal agricultural officials to enforce rules requiring labels be put on food to inform consumers what country the food is from.

In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, DeLauro urged that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) standards be implemented and strongly enforced.

“If your department does not enforce COOL, U.S. ranchers will not be able to differentiate their products with a U.S. label and consumers will not have the information they need at the point of purchase,” DeLauro wrote to Vilsack.

“Accurate information is essential in a competitive, free market and COOL provides consumers with essential information about the origin of their food,” she wrote.

No funding to implement COOL

A statement accompanying the fiscal year 2014 government funding bill recently signed into law does not approve of any Agriculture Marketing Service spending for COOL implementation and enforcement.

Law requires such labeling for beef, poultry, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts and certain other food products.

Law was passed in 2002

Legislation requiring country-of-origin labeling was signed into law in 2002, but it took another seven years for the law to begin to be implemented.

Due to that delay, caused by opposition from some business interests as well as efforts by Canada and Mexico to derail the law through the World Trade Organization, labeling only began to go into effect last November.

The law was supported by consumer and farming groups.

Families deserve ‘the complete story’

DeLauro said people need to know where the food they consume comes from.

“While the rules are being contested by meat industry stakeholders and the governments, I strongly urge USDA to continue forward with implementation and enforcement of COOL and I offer my support in doing so,” she said. “American families deserve the complete story of where their food comes from.”