March 19, 2004
March 19, 2004 -- On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Mary Bono (R-CA) and Darlene Hooley (D-OR) introduced legislation to reinstate a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. According to this House bill, foodmakers and grocers would begin applying COOL labels on red meat, seafood, produce and peanuts on Sept. 30, 2004.
This legislation is meant to reverse a two-year delay approved by Congress in January and return to the original implementation date set in the 2002 Farm Bill.
Despite the outcome of this bill, Arkansas retailer, Wal-Mart, has announced that it plans to voluntarily comply with COOL regulations for fruits and vegetables.
According to Wal-Mart, the first step is to create a ?traceability protocol,? which will allow the company to know where its products originate. The plan is to have this protocol in place by the end of this year with the next step being the development of a labeling program.