country of origin labeling for online vendors?

Guest article by ” Bogan “

There are a bunch of laws and regulations out there covering labeling of goods that are imported into the USA from outside the USA, whether manufactured (consumer goods, for example), agricultural products and more.   Other industrialized countries have similar laws.

These are called:

Country of Origin Labeling Requirements

(“COOL”) (really!)

There are lots of reasons for country of origin labeling (COOL), such as to figure out whether or not the item is subject to tax as it enters our borders. However one criteria set out in the U.S. law is that “An ultimate purchaser, by reason of the character of such article or by reason of the circumstances of its importation, must necessarily know the country of origin of such article…..” (19 US Code § 1304).  So consumer protection is a factor in why we have such laws.

This is why when you buy a consumer product, say a fishing rod or a can of spam or an automobile or a bottle of aspirin from elsewhere,  it will have a  “Made in China” “Made in Korea” or “Made in El Salvador” (or wherever) label printed on it somewhere.  

Marking must be by:

“…printing, stenciling, stamping, branding, labeling, or by any other reasonable method”  into the product itself.  Some products are labeled with bands, twist ties, and pin tags.   The objective is to provide a legible and conspicuous notice of where the item came from.  

There are exceptions and variations (for example for raw and processed foods) and the laws and regulations are well developed in this area at least in the USA and in other more developed countries. 

After all, according to Wikipedia, the practice started in the ancient world up to 4,000 years ago so it isn’t the latest greatest idea.

So how does this relate to preparedness? 

Personally,  I’d like to know before buying something, where it came from.   Case in point these days:  China!   And for a host of reasons beyond just health.    But there are other countries I would be concerned about as a preparedness-minded individual.   For one, if I see a “Made in the USA” label, I’ll be more likely to think positively about the merchandise when comparing it to other countries of origin.

Online Vendors?

The problem is, when buying from an online vendor, there is a falloff of information.  The package may be labeled for country of origin but the online advertisement or product description isn’t.   As a consequence, the first time a buyer  is informed that a product bought online is from a foreign country is when (s)he opens to box when it gets to their door.

Is this something that needs to change?   Maybe knowing where something comes from will influence my buying decision, maybe it doesn’t, but at least I would like to make an informed decision before handing over my hard earned dollars.


~ Bogan

[ Ken adds: One way to find out when online shopping Amazon (for example) is this: For a given product, scroll down to the Q & A section (just above the reviews). More than likely someone has asked that question already and will be one of the top results (indicating that it is important for many people). If it’s not listed in the top Q & A results, there’s a search box right there — type in “country” or “China”, which will often turn up the question (and the answer).

Also, If a product (on Amazon) is made in the USA, it is nearly always highlighted as such in the product description. Which itself indicates the marketing value of making our own stuff here in the United States! ]

How important is it for you to know where the country of origin is? Will that influence your decision in any way? When shopping ONLINE, do you look for this information?

[ Read: Should the US Focus on Self Sufficiency as a Matter of National Priority? ]

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