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COOL Moves Forward on Two Fronts

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2005) — United States consumers are one step closer to knowing where their food comes from, thanks to the implementation of mandatory country-of–origin (COOL) of seafood products. The National Farmers Union is pleased to finally see COOL implemented for seafood, but will continue to fight until COOL is mandatory for all agricultural products.

The NFU has long supported mandatory country-of-origin labeling of all agricultural commodities and products as a way to provide consumers with the knowledge to make more informed choices about the products they purchase and to serve as a beneficial marketing tool for U.S. producers to compete with the flood of food imported into the United States.

“We are not going to stop until we get COOL for all U.S. agriculture products,” said NFU President Dave Frederickson. “Last year a two-year delay of the implementation of COOL was included in the must-pass legislation to fund the federal government. We have long felt that this delay was unnecessary and counter-productive to the best interests of American consumers and agriculture producers.

Seafood producers in the U.S. have suffered severe economic losses due to the flood of imported product landing in grocery stores cases. NFU contends that if given the choice, consumers would purchase a U.S. product over any other. An NFU nationwide poll found that over 80% of consumers supported mandatory COOL, would purchase U.S. products if given the choice and would even pay a few extra cents for the information.

The day after seafood COOL took effect nationwide, the California Assembly Committee on Health approved a state mandatory COOL bill for meat on a 10-2 vote. California Farmers Union President Joaquin Contente offered testimony supporting this legislative effort, providing a voice for our nation’s family farmers and ranchers. NFU encourages all members of the California Assembly to support final passage of this legislation, and urges other state legislatures to follow California’s lead.


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