Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards says it’s time for "COOL" labels on the produce and meat sold in the United States. COOL, as you may know, stands for "country of origin labeling" and while congress approved such a move five years ago, but it hasn’t happened for a variety of reasons.
"We have all these very public instances of problems with food products that are being imported into the United States," Edwards says. "Now there’s nothing abstract about it. We know that there’s real risk for American consumers, particularly with products that have been imported from China."
As you may recall, pet food containing tainted wheat gluten from China was to blame for the deaths of a number of dogs and cats. Toxic fish and juice containing unsafe color additives from China were also denied entry into the U.S.
"Food safety is a very serious issue for America. It’s time, I believe, that we stop giving in to big agribusiness and food importers and stop the delay in laws that can help provide for food safety," Edwards says.
According to Edwards the average American eats about 260 pounds of imported food yearly and about one percent of that food is inspected. Edwards says that’s "clearly" inadequate. "There’s really a jumble of agencies that are overseeing our food safety," Edwards says.
If elected president, Edwards would consolidate all food safety functions within the Food and Drug Administration and give the FDA the authority to issue food recalls.
Edwards also backs a ban on packer ownership of livestock. Edwards would support a nationwide moratorium on the construction and expansion of new manure lagoons to hold the waste from large-scale livestock operations as well. "And finally, we ought to help family farmers by limiting farm subsidies to $250,000 a person," Edwards says.