Trader Joe’s faces lawsuit over COOL

by Bryan Salvage
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LOS ANGELES – A lawsuit was filed in the County of Los Angeles Superior Court of the State of California by Made in the USA Foundation Chairman, Joel Joseph against Trader Joe's Company. Joseph is requesting an Injunction against the company on allegations that Trader Joe’s is selling meat and produce to consumers with "country-of-origin" labels that are misleading and confusing.

Joseph reportedly filed the lawsuit after shopping at a Trader Joe's location and seeing products improperly and incorrectly labeled with multiple country-of-origin designations on products including spinach, lettuce, ground beef and ribeye steaks that is not compliant with US Dept. of Agriculture requirements and the US Country-of-Origin Act (COOL).

Nationwide, consumers are increasingly at risk to foodborne illnesses like E-coli and bovine spongiform encephalopathy that are rampant in certain countries, Joseph charged. As consumers may want to avoid food from certain countries, Trader Joe's misleading and confusing labeling with multiple countries listed on meat and produce makes it almost impossible for consumers to make informed, intelligent choices to protect their health and their family's health, he added.

"I helped draft, lobby and achieve the passage of the federal Country-of-Origin-Labeling Act," Joseph said. "The entire purpose of the [COOL] act is that no commingling would be allowed so that consumers could choose American food over foreign if they so desired.

"In stark contrast to Trader Joe's absence of a right to mislabel, consumers under the California Supreme Court’s Kwikset decision and under the Country-of-Origin-Labeling Act have a right to know where the food products that they are paying for are grown or raised."

Made in the USA Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in 1989, was created to promote domestic and international products that are "Made in USA."
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