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New Peterson bill does little to 'fix' COOL law, says NPPC

by 5m Editor
18 September 2003, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new bill introduced in the House by Rep. Collin Peterson that is currently being touted as a “solution“ to the many problems associated with the MCOOL law, does little to remedy the situation...

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...and will still result in costs for U.S. pork producers with no benefits,“ according to National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Jon Caspers.

“While the Peterson bill is an admirable attempt to fix the existing country-of-origin labeling law, it does nothing to address the fundamental concerns that pork producers have about this legislation,“ Caspers, a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa said. “The fact that this bill attempts to find a solution to this burdensome and costly law, demonstrates that there are problems with it.“

The Peterson bill, H.R. 3083, eliminates the current law’s audit verification provisions and requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use existing producer records for compliance verification. In addition, the bill prohibits third-party audits verifying that producers are complying with the law.

“This bill essentially provides more exemptions for food service and restaurants, but excludes more people from informing consumers about the country-of-origin of their meat products,“ Caspers said. “It takes the accountability out of the system and perpetrates a fraud on consumers who traditionally have had confidence in their food supply due to meaningful and truthful labels. It’s clear that the proponents of mandatory country-of-origin labeling are really concerned about restricting trade rather than providing consumers with useful information.“

Caspers said the Peterson bill is going in the wrong direction. “Although the bill eases on-farm costs for producers, it does nothing to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate information about their meat products,“ he said. “It takes the teeth out of the law and renders it meaningless. What is the point of a law that has no guarantee behind it, yet imposes huge costs on the entire food chain, without providing any benefits whatsoever to the consumer?“

Source: National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) - 17th September 2003

5m Editor