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Make COOL Labeling Voluntary

by 5m Editor
4 August 2004, at 12:00am

US - Mandatory country of origin labeling is "nothing more than a massive unfunded federal dictate that will not only fail to give the public pertinent information about products they wish to consume, but will hit American consumers in the pocketbook every time they try to put a meal on the table," says AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle in the Billings Gazette.

Boyle argues that after “a decade of free trade in North America and continuing globalization of trade and commerce, livestock and beef products often cross numerous national boundaries between the time of birth, processing and final packaging,“ and thus reading a COOL label would be “incredibly confusing.“ Illustrating this, he notes how a label for ground beef sold in supermarkets might read, “From cattle born, raised and processed in the United States; and cattle born in Canada and raised and processed in the United States; and cattle born, raised and processed in New Zealand.“

Boyle’s editorial follows a recent bill introduced in Congress that would, if enacted, undo mandatory COOL and replace it with a voluntary, market-driven program, a move that AMI supports.

“This will allow consumers to choose, through their purchasing power, whether they are willing to shoulder additional cost for the information being provided,“ said Boyle. “If consumers decide that the [labeling] information is important, then the meat industry, through free market forces, will have an orderly, uniform labeling option administered by the Agriculture Department to meet this new demand.“

To view the article and read the entirety of Boyle's remarks, please visit:
http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display=rednews/2004/08/03/build/opinion/40-guest-op.inc

Source: American Meat Institute (AMI) - 3rd August 2004

5m Editor