The National Farmers Union Friday released the results of a survey that polled a selection of Americans on the hotly debated Country of Origin Labeling issue.
In a sample of 1,000 Americans, NFU said, 90% strongly or somewhat favored requiring food sellers to denote the country of origin for fresh meat on the label. Additionally, 87% strongly or somewhat favored requiring retailers to indicate the country where animals were born, raised and processed on meat labels.
NFU, which supports Country of Origin labeling, said the results are an indicator that consumers want to know more about the origins of their food.
"These findings, coupled with the recent withdrawal of two short-sighted amendments to the Senate and House's respective farm bills that would have negatively impacted Country-of-Origin Labeling, are promising indications that country-of-origin labeling is vitally important and here to stay," said NFU President Roger Johnson.
But the issue has supporters on the other side as well. The National Pork Producers Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association both oppose COOL, maintaining that it won't be acceptable under World Trade Organization Rules.
The organizations opposing the rules also note that it could create increased costs for meat packers, producers and processors.
The COOL labeling issue has been under the thumb of the WTO since the organization required the USDA to adjust labeling rules in response to complaints from Canada and Mexico. The two countries say if products were labeled as the COOL rule requests, the U.S. would have an unfair trade advantage.
Organizations had a shot to weigh in on the issue this spring during a comment period that closed April 11. The National Farmers Union went so far as to create a plan that they say would meet most USDA and WTO requirements.
The USDA has a May 23, 2013 deadline for issuing a final rule on COOL.