Trader Joe's caught in COOL crosshairs

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click image to zoomTrader Joes The head of a California-based organization has filed a lawsuit against Trader Joe’s Co. over the retailer’s alleged noncompliance with country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws, particularly of meat products.

According to, Joel Joseph, chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, filed the lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Supreme Court on allegations the company is selling meat and product to consumers under COOL labels that are misleading and consumers.  

“Many of these products were labeled ‘Product of USA and Mexico,’ some meat products are labeled ‘Product of Australia, USA, Nicaragua and New Zealand,’ and similar labels that are inaccurate, misleading and not in compliance with California and Federal law,” the complaint states.

Food Safety News reports Joseph filed the lawsuit in April on behalf of members of the generic public who have purchased the products over the last three years.

 “Plaintiff and 80 percent of the general public, desire to purchase American-made groceries,” Joseph writes in the complaint. “When plaintiff purchased his groceries at Trader Joe’s, there was no way that he knew the country of origin of the meat and produce.”

Joseph explained in a news release that he "helped draft, lobby and achieve the passage of the federal Country of Origin Labeling Act. The entire purpose of [the] Country of Origin Labeling Act is that no commingling would be allowed so that consumers could choose American food over foreign if they so desired.”

“Consumers may want to avoid food from certain countries and with Trader Joe's misleading and confusing labeling with multiple countries listed on meat and produce, it's almost impossible for consumers to make informed, intelligent choices to protect their health and their family's health,” he continued.

A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 22. In addition to seeking $25,000 in damages, Joseph also will ask the court for an injunction against Trader Joe’s to immediately correct the company's labeling practices.

See, “‘Made in USA’ Advocate Wants Court to Order Trader Joe’s to Comply With COOL”

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Dolores Tamoria    
California  |  July, 03, 2014 at 09:33 AM

When I shop at Trader Joes I am shopping for items of import when I shop at Chain Grocers I am shopping for US Made. There are more serious issues to go after.

NY  |  July, 03, 2014 at 10:15 AM

This is a crock of BS. This person just has it in for Trader Joe's. Fact of the matter go into any food store and pick up a steak, ground beef a or any other meat product and it says nothing about where the meat came from.

kansas  |  July, 07, 2014 at 08:39 AM

This is exactly what I expected of COOL. Unending lawsuits and constant complaints and protests by those with a "cause" and lawyers. As with all "protectionist" acts, it should be subtitled "A Full Employment for Lawyers Act". Consumers are just an excuse, and are "generic" as shown here.

July, 07, 2014 at 09:49 AM

What is the BIG problem with knowing where our food comes from. I want to know.

July, 07, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Way to many "joe's' in this conversation.

iowa  |  July, 07, 2014 at 01:00 PM

I Love Trader Joes but they really ticked me off with flaunting CA law. A steak cannot be from 3 different countries, Yet it would say on the label "product of US, Australia, Mexico or Canada.I buy alot of food there but no meat anymore.

iowa  |  July, 07, 2014 at 01:03 PM

michael alot of people do want to know where their meat comes from. Mexican beef is not subject to the strict standards in the US. They use clenbuterol for instance. Mexican beef has been tested many times and has been found to have high amounts. Not good and most of us want no part of it. But some people will turn a blind eye to make a buck. Shame on Trader Joes.

iowa  |  July, 07, 2014 at 01:05 PM

@John in CA the origin is listed on all products.

Texas  |  July, 07, 2014 at 01:34 PM

Talk about health, hey in this country we are killing ourselves with all the GMO's, pesticides and insecticides and heaven knows what all else they put on our food. Make food your medicine and not the other way around people!!! We are being mislead in this country in just about every way, Time to wake up and demand cleaner foods!! God Bless Us

texas  |  July, 07, 2014 at 06:46 PM

OK. We will quit using everything that is so bad in your world and watch everyone stave to death. Perfect world is if everyone who hates production Ag to stop eating production Ag and we will see survival of the fittest. My next comment is .... what the he$# did this have to do with the article.

texas  |  July, 07, 2014 at 06:51 PM

And this Texas guy was responding to the 1776 Texas move in that he didn't understand how GMOs and pesticides had anything to do with the article

July, 07, 2014 at 07:55 PM

According to cool it could be. As an example say a calf was born Nicaragua then fattened in Mexico and slaughtered in the US. It would say on the label Product of Nicaragua,Mexico and U.S.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  July, 09, 2014 at 09:13 AM

Show me the reports of what we are dying of here, because of GMO, that they aren't dying of in Europe, where they are GMO free.

kansas  |  July, 12, 2014 at 09:48 AM

So, Bob - in Iowa? (hehehe). You're telling us none of the food we import is inspected, tested or required to meat USDA/FDA standards? And even when it is, our government allows it to be sold here? WHY do we have standards, laws, inspectors etc., if they're doing nothing Bob? Or are you - and "Most of Us" - just wrong in promoting an expensive and ultimately meaningless set of oppressive government interventions? If you can cite any cases of injury, sickness, deaths or long-term health challenges created by all the foods (meats & other) imported to the US, which you seem to be alleging is a reason for COOL, please share.

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