COOL – Country of Origin Labeling

By Erin Parke Watson

So… I’m going to bring up a touchy subject.  One that is personal to me and I think should be addressed.

The USDA has this thing called Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). It is a labeling law that requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets and club warehouse stores, to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods. But in the mist of the Coronavirus, the USDA has eased its rules in an effort to redistribute food service product (that does not require the Country of Origin Labeling) into the retail stores.

What does this mean???

Your local grocery store…you know…the one right down the road from that strawberry field, could (and probably does) have strawberries grown in Mexico on the shelves (and sometimes even in the Fresh from Florida section!!). 

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, how is that even possible???…it’s right down the road??? Well, that’s because commerce coming over the border is cheaper (due to their fruits and vegetables being extremely less expensive to grow). 

Between the restaurant industry at a standstill during the Coronavirus and customers staying at home and not visiting the grocery store as often, farmers are having to turn to social media (did you notice our bushels of pickles for sell on our Facebook page??) to sell their products locally or their product is left to rot in the fields. 

What can I do about this?? 

  • Buy from your local farmers.  Contact them about what produce they have available.  Buy directly from them.
  • Contact your local grocery store.  Demand locally sourced produce. Make your voice heard loud and clear!

Farmers are the backbone of this country.  They put food on your table and provide the nutrition you need in your diet. They are the businesses you should also be supporting during this troubling time.

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