NFU Applauds COOL Timeline, Urges Law be Kept Intact

US - National Farmers Union commended House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, for including benchmarks for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for meat, produce and peanuts during Thursday’s House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture mark up.
calendar icon 14 July 2007
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DeLauro included date-specific benchmarks for USDA to draft and release COOL implementation rules that are focused on common-sense and limited burden to producers. Sept. 30, 2008 is deadline for final rule for all covered commodities.

In a letter sent to members of the House this week, NFU President Tom Buis said that with food safety issues dominating the headlines, there is no reason the law, as passed by Congress in the 2002 Farm Bill, should not go into effect.

“In the face of these overwhelming facts and concerns about food safety, opponents of COOL are again seeking to deny consumers and families the basic information about which country the food they consume comes from,” NFU President Tom Buis said. “I thank Congresswoman DeLauro and the subcommittee members for their leadership in ensuring USDA releases common sense rules for COOL in a timely fashion.”

COOL opponents are advocating for two giant loopholes that would gut the law’s integrity: An exemption of ground product which would cover up meatpackers’ common use of lower quality imports from countries that may not have the same food safety standards as the United States; and changing the definition of a U.S. product by deleting the “born” provision, allowing the meat from foreign-born animals to be labeled as a “Product of the United States.”

Buis urged members of the House to oppose these efforts and allow COOL to be implemented as intended.

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