As your Constitituent, I encourage you to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure the country-of-origin labeling law that was part of the 2002 farm bill is implemented with the true intent of Congress.
As you know, the farm bill that President Bush signed into law last May included a national country-of-origin labeling program long sought by farmers, ranchers, and consumer groups. It requires that, effective Sept. 2004, all fruits, vegetables, peanuts, meats and fish be labeled with the country in which it was grown and processed.
Recently, USDA has threatened the implementation process by releasing unsupported data on the costs of the labeling provision. The department's estimates are obviously inflated and based on flawed assumptions about food industry practices. The data fails to include a benefits analysis or recognize existing government regulations and standard marketing practices that can be used to implement the new law.
Please do what you can to make sure that this data, or any other efforts to weaken the law, are not allowed to undermine support of the planned 2004 implementation of mandatory country-of-origin labeling. I also encourage you to require that a third party research group perform a complete cost and benefits study.
As a consumer, I prefer to know where the food I purchase is grown and processed. We know where our clothes and other manufactured goods come from, but not what we put into our bodies.
Thank you in advance for doing what you can to ensure the country-of-origin labeling law is successfully implemented and benefits American consumers, farmers and ranchers.
Americans for Country of Origin Labeling