House Passes Voluntary Labeling Legislation

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Jan 31, 2004
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South La
House passes voluntary labeling legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation today by voice vote that would require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish voluntary labeling of produce; meat, including beef, pork, veal and lamb; and seafood with country-of-origin information. The voluntary country-of-origin labeling (sometimes referred to as COL or COOL) act, known as the Food Promotion Act of 2004, would amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 upon final passage.

The legislation was first introduced June 15 by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Minority Member Charles Stenholm (D-Texas). According to a joint news release from five leading food industry organizations, the legislation has attained bipartisan support, as well as support from 350 ag groups.

"The legislation we passed today will strike the onerous mandatory system and require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish in its place a rigorous voluntary program," Goodlatte said in a House release. "This will allow producers to work with processors and retailers to provide labeling information to help them market their product. This approach, which benefits both consumers and producers, is preferable to a mandatory program, which is more likely to hurt the folks it was intended to help."

Jan Lyons, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) president and Angus breeder from Manhattan, Kan., said the legislation would produce a labeling system that is market-driven and beneficial to participating producers.

She said, "Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Minority Member Stenholm are moving forward with country-of-origin labeling that finally makes sense."

Other ag groups expressed displeasure with the ruling.

In a statement by the National Farmers Union, NFU President Dave Frederickson said many producers and consumers are disappointed with the House Ag Committee's stance.

"Voluntary country-of-origin labeling is similar to a voluntary speed limit. It's just not realistic. There is no reason to believe that the companies that profit from importing cheaper food products from other countries would voluntarily label these products, especially when numerous surveys show consumers prefer to buy U.S.-origin foods."
OK, so I send my cattle to harvest with COOL documentation. The packer throws the paper work in the circular file, because no documentation means no fines due to improper documentation or segregation procedures. It is easier all around not to make any claims about origin.

COOL information will only move all the way up the chain to the consumer if it has to.
dianab":3mj1vj5b said:
COOL information will only move all the way up the chain to the consumer if it has to.

No, Diana. It will move down the chain from the consumer when they are willing to pay for it! Otherwise, you can bet your ass that we will get stuck paying for it!

Its money that moves mountains. Governments just have committees to study how to do it and provide disincentives for the private sector to get it done!

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