New labelling laws to be introduced in the US could cause the industry added costs amounting to some €2 billion, the US Agricultural Department has announced.
Published in the Federal Register last week, the US government says it is seeking public comment on ways to minimise the cost of the programme.
The Food Marketing Institute said in an interview with Agence Press that the programme is expensive for farmers and manufacturers who have to keep records so meat, fish and other products can be labelled with their country of origin. The institute also warned that the added costs would have to be passed on to consumers to cover the costs.
"Much of the burden will fall ultimately on consumers in higher costs for the hundreds of products that must be labelled in this programme," said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the institute, an organisation of retailers and wholesalers.
The US government introduced the new labelling regulations back in October. Initially it will be voluntary for the first two years, after which time it will become mandatory.
The move will be keenly observed from within the European Union, where currently country of origin labelling is not yet mandatory. However the campaign to introduce similar measures to those already introduced in the US is gathering momentum. FoodProductionDaily.com's sister site, FoodNavigator.com has been following the story in Europe where directives are being proposed to implement equally tough regulations.