June 18, 2004
June 18, 2004 -- On Tuesday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) announced introduction of voluntary country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) legislation. At introduction, the bill had 13 additional cosponsors.
The ?Food Promotion Act of 2004? will amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the voluntary labeling of meat (including beef, pork, veal and lamb), produce and seafood with country-of-origin information.
?The legislation we are introducing today will strike the onerous mandatory system and require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish in its place a rigorous voluntary program,? Goodlatte said.
Stenholm added, ?I have joined with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to introduce legislation to replace the mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) program, an unworkable and burdensome program, with a voluntary COOL program that works for all producers. The voluntary approach in the bill ensures that those who are paying the cost of the regulations will be doing so because they have determined that there is an added benefit provided by the program.?
Five producer groups representing America?s cattle ranchers, pork producers, seafood producers and produce growers/shippers joined Goodlatte and Stenholm during this announcement.
?The industry recently contacted Goodlatte and Stenholm urging them to exclude lamb from this legislation which would establish voluntary country-of-origin labeling in lieu of a mandatory program,? stated American Sheep Industry Association President Guy Flora. ?The industry is appreciative of their leadership and support, but remains steadfast in its support of mandatory country-of-origin labeling.?
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33