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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, Harvest covers agriculture-related topics through a network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.

Country-Of-Origin Labeling Law Officially Canned

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Grant Gerlock
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Harvest Public Media

Grocery stores can officially stop labelling cuts of pork and beef with their country of origin. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, the federal government has wiped the controversial law that required those labels off the books.

Kansas State University livestock economist Glynn Tonsor says regardless of labeling, imported meat is subject to U.S. food safety rules.

"When we bring meat in, it still has to pass safety protocol by USDA, just like it does if it’s produced here," he says.

That’s why meat companies argued the labels were unnecessary. But some ranchers wanted protection from foreign competition.

Congress repealed mandatory labelling on beef and pork late last year, after the U.S. lost a World Trade Organization dispute with Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now made repeal official, although labels are still necessary for poultry, fish and a list of other foods.

Harvest Public Media's reporter at NET News, where he started as Morning Edition host in 2008. He joined Harvest Public Media in July 2012. Grant has visited coal plants, dairy farms, horse tracks and hospitals to cover a variety of stories. Before going to Nebraska, Grant studied mass communication as a grad student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed his undergrad at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm in southwestern Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor, but has taken up city life in Lincoln, Neb.