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Starting 1 October 2008, supermarkets and grocery stores all over the United States are required by law to disclose the country of origin for many whole food products. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are the primary products covered in this new labeling law, however, many products are excluded from labeling requirements. As an example, a head of butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce will carry country of origin labeling, while a spring mix of lettuce will not because the mix is "processed". The labeling is based on Farm Bill legislation dating back to 2002, which originally required country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef, lamb, pork, fish, perishable agricultural commodities, and peanuts. The 2008 Farm Bill further defines required labeling to include chicken, goat meat, ginseng, pecans and macadamia nuts. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides additional details, although does a better job of spelling out the requirements in plain english. The grocery store in my town already does a good job of spelling this out, so it will be interesting to see if I notice any changes as the law takes effect.


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