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Finding Out Where Food Is From

Under a recently implemented federal law, almost all foods-including fresh meats and produce-are required to have labels identifying their country of origin.  These Country-of-Origin Labels (COOL) come in handy when contamination outbreaks occur and consumers want to avoid, say, peppers from Mexico believed to be tainted with salmonella. 

While such labeling can reduce consumers' food-contamination worries, the law contains some exemptions.  For example, although meat and fish sold in large supermarkets must be labeled, meat and fish sold in butcher shops and fish markets are exempt. And while a box of frozen carrots must indicate country of origin, a mixture of vegetables such as a box of frozen carrots and peas would be exempt if the combo-veggie wasn't packaged or canned abroad (in which case COOL is required under older laws). 

For more information, view Consumers Union's Cool Tool at


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