Sticker Shock: Where Does Your Food Come From?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


If you want to find out where your T-shirt was made, just look inside the collar. Finding out where the food in your fridge comes from may not be so easy. Though some food sellers are eager to advertise their products’ local origins or exotic ingredients, much of the American food industry is reluctant to tell consumers where in the world it gets the $24 billion worth of meat and produce it imports every year. “Food labeling is turning into a huge fight,” says Jean Halloran of Consumers Union, which supports the introduction of mandatory country-of-origin labeling, also known as COOL. Under a provision in the 2002 Farm Bill, domestic and imported meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables must be labeled with the country—or countries—they come from. For example, a COOL sticker on a typical package of ground beef might disclose that its contents come from Australia, Mexico, and the United States. Consumer advocates say such labels help shoppers make informed choices, and point to the use of COOL by eight states and 48 of the United States’ trading partners. But the meatpacking and food-processing industries claim the requirement unfairly targets imports and would raise food prices; the Produce Marketing Association claims the program offers “no benefits to consumers.” So far, the food industry has convinced Congress to backtrack: House Republicans have twice postponed COOL’S rollout for meat and produce, leaving diners in the dark until September 2008.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate