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When Label Says "Made In The U.S.A." Is It Really?

When Label Says "Made In The U.S.A." Is It Really?

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Paul Nelson, KSL NewsRadioEconomic analysts say shoppers are more mindful of where their food comes from after recent reports of tainted products. But, are products that say "Made in the U.S.A." really from this country?

Contaminated food and other products have been in the news a lot lately.

Fox News reported, "Digging into the e-coli outbreak, trying to figure out the cause."

On CNN, "Cases of melamine wheat gluten, which is used in pet food."

And CBS said, "There are also concerns about Chinese toothpaste, pharmaceutical ingredients and especially imported food."

These stories have some people wondering where their food is coming from exactly.

"We should be buying all American."

"They have got to let us know actually where it's from instead of saying it's from another place and actually it's not."

So imagine this scenario: You pick up a container of guacamole that says on the front label it came from California, but says "Product of Mexico" on the back. This reportedly is happening in stores in California. Officials say some companies try to do that in Utah, but that's illegal.

Utah Food Industry Association President Jim Olsen said, "They can't say it's from one place when in reality it isn't."

Olsen says it's getting harder for people to know exactly where their food is coming from. He says it comes from people wanting perishable and seasonal items all year long.

"In order to accommodate those consumer wants and needs it has become a global food market," he said.

He says a lot of things that say "Made in the U.S.A." are not completely American.

"A lot of your national manufacturers are bringing in various ingredients from around the world. They are names that we all know and use and have confidence in," he explained.

So how do you know if the food you're buying has spinach from Monterrey, California, or wheat gluten from China? Olsen says you really can't unless you're willing to have a large phone bill.

"Really the only way as a consumer you would be able to know that, and for that matter as retailers that we would be able to do it, is contact those manufacturers," he said.

Olsen says the FDA cannot inspect all fields, animals and products that eventually come to the supermarket, even if they wanted to. However, he says the U.S. has the best food safety in the world, and there really is no close second.

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