I don’t know about you, but I think that labeling the origin of food is a good idea. I would like to know where the food I buy comes from and, if it is fruit or veggies, how it was grown. I’ve pretty much given up on "processed" foods, because it’s my belief that most packaged food is low on the George Vigil Index of Foods that have Nutritional Value. That, coupled with all the chemicals and preservatives, sort of turns them into ANTI-nutritional food. Sorry, because that’s like saying anti-helpful-to-life.

The meats we buy are from Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods assured me that no antibiotics or hormones are used (you know, like estrogen) in the meats they offer.

This morning, I was reading an article about our government reopening the subject of labeling food origin: Food-labeling effort gains new momentum by Mary Clare Jalonick, a writer for Associated Press:

Shoppers are in the dark about where much of their food comes from despite a five-year-old law requiring meat and other products to carry labels with their country of origin.

The 2002 law is being resisted by different associations — but Ms. Jalonick reports that there are more decisions by the associations who attempt to tell me what I should think about labeling foods. I quote:

But Regina Hildwine, director of food labeling and standards for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, says the labels will be "additional noise" on crowded packaging.

"There’s a lot more information on a label that’s more important for a consumer to understand, like nutrition facts," she said.

That’s if you can get through the meaning of the words that are being used on the label. If you are able to — WOW! Chemicals and preservatives. Are those foods?  I don’t think so! They are additives. There’s not much labeling to be done to food up until the point where the other additives are also identified. Then it gets pretty long. Think about it. It all comes under the heading of "nutritional facts". And another one:

Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., said he will try to beat back language in a spending bill that would establish firm guidelines to begin the labeling in September 2008. LaHood is siding with the meatpacking companies and grocery chains.

"It’s going to cause a lot of heartburn," he said.

The problem with food laced with chemicals and preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, etc., is that it already gives us heartburn!

As one must in these types of situations, one would have to ask to WHOM the labeling food origin gives heartburn. One could also ask WHY the government has to pass laws to make food makers say what’s in the food and where it comes from. Why are food makers so resistant to identifying what’s in the food they provide to us and where it comes from?  One would have to wonder whether these food manufacturers are telling the truth when they label what’s in the food. Or can they just, by law, NOT say what some additives are?

Why can’t food be JUST food?  Why can’t I buy JUST food? Organic food, that is, by law, just plain FOOD.

As well, it should be obvious to anyone that labeling the origin of food is a good idea — and not just for food. Our July 1 article, Questioning Chinese Imports, enumerates a number of high-profile incidents wherein imports or ingredients from China (some of which were purposely not identified as originating in China) left hundreds of people dead.

One wonders whether this is pork barrel politics at its best … but this time, with our food.

George Vigil

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3 Comments for "Labeling the origin of food is a good idea"

  1. Diane Vigil

    Great catch, George. Since labeling the origin of food would seem to be a no-brainer that would benefit everyone, one wonders just who doesn’t want it. This reminds me of the old saying "Cui bono?" Latin for "who benefits"? That would take us to why. And, perhaps, how it came to be that some were so against informing us of where our food comes from.

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