Common Dreams NewsCenter

We Can't Do It Without You!
 

Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search

Home > Progressive Community > NewsWire > For Immediate Release
   
Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
   
Public Citizen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 30, 2004
5:37 PM
CONTACT:  Public Citizen
Newsroom: 202-588-7742
 
Once Again, Government Denies Consumers the Right to Know
 

WASHINGTON - September 30 - Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Director of Public Citizen's Food Program

In the latest twist of the political drama known as country-of-origin labeling, consumers will once again be forced to wait for vital information about what they are feeding their families.

Today was the deadline for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue the final rules for "country of origin" labeling (COOL) for seafood. Under proposed rules, seafood sold in grocery stores would be labeled with the seafood's country of origin, as well as whether it is farmed-raised or wild. Instead, the USDA will delay the rules' effective date for six months to allow "industry members to conform their operations to the new [labeling] requirements."

This is likely not what the industry will spend the next six months doing, however. It probably will follow the lead of the food and grocery industry, which is lobbying Congress to change the program to a voluntary standard. For other foods, including meat, COOL has been delayed until 2006 by Congress.

A voluntary program will do no good for consumers. Voluntary labeling has existed for two years, yet few food processors and meatpackers have been willing to participate because they are not obligated to do so. So consumers remain in the dark about where their food comes from.

The United State bans the use of particular chemicals (many of them dangerous to consumers' health) to farm-raise seafood, but other countries permit them. As recent as Sept. 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found residues of one such U.S.-banned chemical - chloramphenicol - in a shipment of shrimp from Vietnam. Currently, only 1 to 2 percent of all seafood imported into the United States is inspected. COOL labeling would allow consumers to know if the seafood is farm-raised in countries with less stringent public health regulations.

Consumers have a right to know where their food comes from, but in the United States, we blindly eat meals every day without knowing or having any way to find out. Given that we know where our clothes and cars are made, it seems logical that we should also know the same information about our food.

###

Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
Common Dreams NewsCenter is a non-profit news service
providing breaking news and views for the Progressive Community.

The press release posted here has been provided to Common Dreams NewsWire by one of the many progressive organizations who make up America's Progressive Community. If you wish to comment on this press release or would like more information, please contact the organization directly.
*all times Eastern US (GMT-5:00)

Making News?
Read our Guidelines for Submitting News Releases

CommonDreams.org is an Internet-based progressive news and grassroots activism organization, founded in 1997.
We are a nonprofit, progressive, independent and nonpartisan organization.

Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search

To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.


www.commondreams.org