Country-of-Origin Food Labels Costly and Ineffective, Says GAO.
FDA estimates that federal monitoring would cost about $56 million annually and said "enforcement would be difficult." According to USDA officials and industry representatives, mandatory labeling at the retail level could be viewed by other countries as a trade barrier. Further, USDA and State Department officials believe a U.S. labeling law is more likely to be challenged than labeling laws imposed by other countries because the United States is both a large importer and exporter of fresh produce. In addition, and contradicting claims by sponsors of country-of-origin labeling, officials from FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say such requirements for fresh produce would be of limited benefit to food safety agencies in tracing the source of contamination in outbreaks of foodborne illness.
Finally, while consumers favor country-of-origin labeling for fresh produce, they rate information on freshness, nutrition and handling and storage as more important, according to nationwide surveys sponsored by the fresh produce industry.
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|Publication:||Food & Drink Weekly|
|Date:||May 3, 1999|
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