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COOL Expected to Spark Showdown Between US Congress and US Senate

by 5m Editor
15 August 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1321. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1321

The Canadian Pork Council says the US Senate and the US House of Representatives appear headed for a showdown over mandatory Country of Origin Labelling of meat.

Last month the US House of Representatives approved an amendment to prohibit the US Department of Agriculture from using 2004 funding to implement mandatory Country of Origin Labelling for meat....effectively delaying it's introduction by one year.

Next month a provision approved by a Senate subcommittee, that would secure the funding for implementing COOL, will move to the full Senate Appropriations Committee where it's expected to pass.

Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Martin Rice says opposition to mandatory COOL continues to build in the US.

"We've seen, for example, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association instructing their executive people to work toward a voluntary rather than a mandatory system and that's a very significant move.

NCPA has been looking for a practical way to deal with this and I think until now they've been giving some support still to the idea of mandatory but they have switched over.

Of course the National Pork Producers Council has been stridently opposed to mandatory Country of Origin Labelling as have many of the food industry groups in the United States.

I think we're seeing, already, a couple of examples of congressmen putting forward legislative ideas to make COOL more manageable.

I don't think any of them are quite yet what most industry observers would like to see but we're hopeful that, after the senate recess and congressmen get more indications from their constituents that mandatory COOL is not what they want, that we would see some new proposals come forward in the congress this fall".

In the end the House of Representatives and the Senate will have to reconcile their differences and agree to one common piece of legislation.

Rice says, if the senate remains determined to press ahead with a fall 2004 implementation of mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, those opposed will be urging the house to not give in.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor