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Interesting story in the Orlando Sentinel the frames the debate about federal country-of-origin labeling rules, which have gone into effect on a voluntary basis and are scheduled for mandatory implementation in 2004.

In Florida, where there are existing state regulations, the paper quotes executives from Chamberlin’s Natural Foods as saying that they’ve always done the labeling because, "We think it gives consumers more information, more choice, and that's good,"

The Sentinel positions the food industry and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) as squarely against the rules and recommending to its members that they not comply with them while they are only voluntary. FMI’s objections: the level of paperwork that retailers will have to maintain just to provide the requisite information, and the concern that retailers could get fined if they make a mistake while trying to comply on a voluntary basis.
KC's View:
Intriguing debate, and one that no doubt will gain some urgency as the time for mandatory compliance grows closer and some industry groups look for revision of the rules.

We certainly can understand that this could create a logistical nightmare for the food industry, but here are our questions:

What if consumers want it?

If consumers want it, especially in a time of increased concern about food safety and security, does the industry want to be in a position where it is seen to be resisting it?

Just asking…