The last few years have produced a rough ride for food safety in the United States and around the world.  Problems with imported foods and foods produced in and shipped across the United States have made headlines because of poisonous food contaminants and bacterial infestation, leaving many consumers wanting to know more about where exactly their food is coming from.

A new food safety law took effect on March 16 that requires COOL (Country of Origin) food labels to include point of origin for fresh meats, some fruits, vegetables, and various other foods.  Many of the little stickers on produce list point of origin but the information has been voluntary until now.

Under the new law, a COOL label will identify the geographic source of each animal sold for meat production. This particular aspect of the new law is popular with ranchers in the northern US, where competition with Canadian cattle producers is especially keen.

This new labeling policy is part of a Congressional bill passed last year but Tom Vilsack, the current US Secretary of Agriculture, has asked meat producers to take the new labels a step further.  He’s calling for fresh meat labels that will identify the place an animal was born, where it was raised, and where it was slaughtered.