U.S. General Accounting Office

Country-of-Origin Labeling for Certain Foods - Survey Results

A requirement that retail grocers identify certain agricultural products by country of origin was included in legislation passed in 2002. Beginning September 30, 2004 when the new law takes effect, grocery stores will have to clearly mark the covered products—beef, pork, lamb, fruits, vegetables, fish, shellfish, and peanuts—with their country of origin. GAO was asked to identify which U.S. trading partner countries require country-of-origin labeling at the retail level for foods subject to the new labeling law and how these programs are being implemented. To determine country of origin practices of U.S. trading partners and update the 1998 Foreign Agricultural Service report, we surveyed the agriculture attachés for the key trading partner countries and the European Union that were surveyed in 1998 as well as other key trading partners, for a total of 57 countries and the European Union. The 57 countries account for about 94 percent of U.S. trading activity for food and animals. This information in these tables is based on responses to GAO’s survey. Results are also available in the following report: Country-of-Origin Labeling: Opportunities for USDA and Industry to Implement Challenging Aspects of the New Law. The report can be accessed at GAO-03-780.

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