NFU submits comments on COOL
National Farmers Union responded today to the US Department of Agriculture's
(USDA) interim final rule for mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL),
urging the department to implement the law as Congress
NFU has been a steadfast supporter of the labelling law
and played a key role in negotiating the compromise that allowed for the
provision to be included in the 2008 Farm Bill. However, NFU President Tom Buis
expressed several concerns with USDA's interpretation.
Despite the farm
bill's clear language to the contrary, several large beef packers announced
their intent to circumvent COOL by labelling all beef products under the
multiple products category, ignoring the exclusively U.S. born, raised and
â€œBeef packers want to get around the rules and use
what could be referred to as a NAFTA label on their products. There was never
any intent to use a NAFTA label when this compromise agreement was reached. U.S.
products should be labelled as products of the United States,â€ Buis
â€œHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Ranking
Member Bob Goodlatte, have both said this is not the intent of the law and
Secretary Schafer has agreed. The packers ought to follow the intent of the
Buis urged the department to announce a possible solution before
COOL's October 1 effective date.
Buis said USDA's interpretation of the
labelling for processed food items is much broader than Congress intended.
â€œCongress provided USDA with the latitude to define a processed food item, but
did not intend for the definition to be so broad that consumers will be denied
country of origin information on a multitude of food items.Click here for
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