Thursday, January 23, 2014

DeLauro Urges USDA to Implement, Enforce Strong Country-Of-Origin Labeling Standards

NEW HAVEN, CT—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to implement and enforce strong country-of-origin labeling (COOL) standards. The explanatory statement accompanying the fiscal year 2014 government funding bill signed into law last week does not approve of any Agriculture Marketing Service spending for COOL implementation and enforcement. “If your Department does not enforce COOL, U.S. ranchers will not be able to differentiate their products with a U.S. label and consumers will not have the information they need at the point of purchase,” DeLauro wrote to Vilsack. “Accurate information is essential in a competitive, free market and COOL provides consumers with essential information about the origin of their food. “While the rules are being contested by meat industry stakeholders and the governments, I strongly urge USDA to continue forward with implementation and enforcement of COOL and I offer my support in doing so. American families deserve the complete story of where their food comes from.” The letter can be read in its entirety here. The final rule put forth by USDA after a 2012 World Trade Organization ruling against the United States is once again being contested by Canada and Mexico. DeLauro, a former Chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for funding the Agriculture Department, strongly believes that American consumers have a right to know the origins of their food. Legislation requiring country-of-origin labeling was signed into law in 2002, but it took another seven years for it to begin to be implemented. Due to that delay, and Canada and Mexico’s efforts to derail the law, labeling only began to go into effect last November.

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