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
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 budget.