Myths and Facts

MYTH: U.S. consumers do not care about country of origin labeling

FACT: Numerous surveys and polls indicate that consumers overwhelmingly support country of origin labeling and will pay a market premuim for U.S. products because labeling provides additonal product information, increased consumer choice and fulfills a desire to support American agriculture.

MYTH: Country of origin labeling violates our international trade agreement commitments.

FACT: The U.S. country of origin labeling law does not violate our trade commitments. The law does not impose any additional restrictions in the form of tariff rate quotas or non-tariff barriers to imports and the requirements apply to both the domestic and imported commodities enumerated in the statute. Many nations already require country of origin labeling on a variety of food products.

MYTH: Third-party documentation and verification is required to be in compliance with the law.

FACT: The law does not require third-party verification of origin for commodities or preclude self-certification of the origin of the commodity. The law does specifically prohibit USDA from mandating an animal identification system as a means of compliance.

MYTH: The cost of compliance with the country of origin labeling law will be about $2.0 billion in the first year.

FACT: USDA made a number of incorrect judgements concerning costs by assuming all U.S. producers would have these costs when many producers do raise the enumerated commodities. The USDA also assumed new record keeping system requirements would need to be established and implemented when the majority of producers already keep records that can provide the required information.

MYTH: The cost and regulatory burden of compliance will substantially increase consumer food costs and/or reduce producer returns.

FACT: As provided in the law, the cost and regulatory compliance requirements can be significantly reduced by relying on existing records maintained by government agencies, importers, processors and retailers. Additionally, existing programs that require country of origin certification can be used as models for implementation, such as the federal school lunch program and our international food aid programs. Based on USDA's exaggerated initial cost projection, consumer organizations estimate the average cost to individual consumers will only be about 13 cents per week.

Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556