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Listening sessions set on COOL implementation

by 5m Editor
6 March 2003, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced a series of listening and education sessions in various parts of the country to gain more public input and provide interested parties more information about the new Country of Origin Labeli

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“USDA continues to work hard to implement the Country of Origin Labeling provisions and provide the opportunity for public input from all interested parties,“ said Veneman. “It is important to eliminate confusion to ensure the process doesn’t cause an undue burden on the nation’s food and agricultural sector. These forums are just another example of how USDA is reaching out to receive input and making progress toward final implementation of these new measures.“

The Secretary has also directed the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to review recently received public comments on the voluntary guidelines and initial record keeping cost estimates and update those figures as necessary. Last year, AMS put in place the voluntary requirements as part of the new law and announced an extended public comment period to ensure the necessary input was received from all interested parties. The public comment period recently ended on Feb. 21, 2003.

In November 2002, AMS issued an initial and preliminary estimate of record-keeping costs associated with implementation of the voluntary COOL measures. AMS sought public comment on the estimate to assess information available about existing models and systems being utilized in various parts of the country and how this information could be useful as the agency further examines the initial cost estimates and moves forward on implementation measures. Throughout the process AMS has conducted meetings and sought public comments from all interested parties.

The listening and educational sessions will take place in 12 states representing a cross-section of the food and agriculture sector. Those states are California, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. AMS will announce specific dates and locations for these forums in the near future.

USDA - 5th March 2003

5m Editor