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New Website Helps Grocers Comply With COOL Laws

Thursday, December 17, 2009 General News J E 4
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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 16 Shoppers like knowing if their salad is from the United States, Mexico or Argentina. But grocers have found it burdensome to implement the recent Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) laws requiring them to provide the information at point of sale. A task specific website at easyCOOLnow.com for easily making grocery and produce signs debuts today.

COOL laws include provisions that require retailers of unprocessed fruits, vegetables and other agricultural commodities to identify in which country the food was grown starting March 2009.

Consumers appreciate more information when making their food purchasing decisions. Country of origin labeling gives them the opportunity to shop consciously, choose foods grown locally both for taste and ecological reasons, and identify food they prefer to avoid.

Grocers are less enthusiastic about the COOL regulations. They cite the cost and difficulty of legibly handwriting so many things on signs which are frequently replaced.

The easyCOOLnow.com website allows grocers to make professionally designed and illustrated signs that comply with COOL laws more quickly than they can be handwritten.

Website users create a private library of grocery signs from professionally designed templates. Signs can be updated in seconds. Images of over 500 common and exotic produce varieties are easily included, and there is no limit on the quantity printed.

A four minute demo on the site explains the sign making process and acts as an employee training video. The process is easy enough that any employee can be given the task of making COOL compliant grocery signs -- not just the ones with good handwriting.

Regarding the enforcement of country of origin labeling laws, USDA spokesperson Sam Jones states that the, "USDA has cooperative agreements with State Departments of Agriculture to conduct COOL inspections which began in June 2009.

"At this time, USDA has not fined or initiated administrative action against a retailer or supplier. Instead, we have focused our actions on educating retailers and other interested parties. Retail stores and suppliers with non-compliance findings are subject to follow-up reviews or audits, and potential fines."

easyCOOLnow.com is a website where grocers create, organize, edit, and print professional produce and grocery signs.

contact: Suzanne Jamieson, sjamieson@sbcglobal.net, (415) 706 5237

SOURCE easyCOOLnow.com
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