Farmers Union Pushes Senate 
For Country-of-Origin Labeling

Waco, Texas (Oct. 18, 2001) -- In letters to U.S. senators Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Ranking Member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the Texas Farmers Union (TFU) is urging inclusion of a measure to provide mandatory country-of-origin labeling for fresh produce and meat in the Senate version of the farm bill.

"We are asking Congress to pass a country-of-origin measure that will allow consumers to make informed choices about their purchases of fruits, vegetables and meats," said TFU President Wes Sims. "By overwhelming margins, consumers have expressed their desire to know where their food comes from. This measure will give America's farmers an important marketing tool in meeting the needs of this content-conscious consumer."

Farmers Union is supporting the inclusion of a provision in the Senate farm bill that would mandate point-of-purchase labeling for fruits, vegetables and meat products, such as beef, lamb and pork.

In multiple national surveys, more than 70 percent of produce shoppers support country-of-origin labeling for fruits and vegetables. In Florida, where such labeling has been the law for more than 20 years, more than 95 percent favor produce origin labeling in stores. Consumer surveys also indicate that 86 percent of Americans prefer country-of-origin labeling for meat products.

"As consumers want to learn more about where and how their food is produced, the label provides important information about what they feed their families," Sims said. "Manufactured goods sold in the U.S. have carried mandatory country-of-origin labels since the 1930s. We hope the U.S. Senate farm bill will do the same for the meat and produce we put on our kitchen tables."

Earlier this month, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a similar country-of-origin labeling measure for fresh produce as part of its farm bill package.

Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556