June 13, 2005:
Despite countless survey’s that show over-whelming
public support for country-of-origin labeling (COOL)
it is once again in danger of not being implemented
or being down-graded to a voluntary program. A provision
slipped into the fiscal year 2006 Agriculture Appropriations
bill will delay the program’s implementation for
at least another year.
In a recent letter to Congress 122 farm organizations
including the National Farmers’ Union, American
Corn Growers Association and the American Meat Goat
Association, opposed the provision to delay the start
of COOL for another year. The letter which addresses
common arguments made by COOL opponents, namely program
costs and implementation logistics, cites the recent
successful launch of a mandatory COOL program for seafood
as evidence the labeling program is not only feasible
but not nearly as costly as original estimates suggested.
A bi-partisan amendment submitted by Representatives
Dennis Rehberg and Darlene Hooley would have protected
implementation funding for mandatory COOL for beef from
further delays but it failed to pass by a vote of 187-240.
Supporters of the program are now turning to the Senate
hoping to keep similar language out of its 2006 budget
proposal. The Senate’s current budget calls for
full program implementation in 2006.
Originally slated to take effect in 2004 a similar
delay-causing provision was also attached to the 2005