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NFU insists House Agriculture Committee keep COOL

DENVER – National Farmers Union President Dave Frederickson urged the House Agriculture Committee today to uphold the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law in order to protect America’s domestic and foreign markets.

“Given the current volatility of consumer confidence within the beef industry, it is simply counter-productive to weaken country-of-origin meat labeling at this time,” Frederickson said.

During today’s committee hearing, the Farmers Union leader reminded members that Japan and Korea, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 beef importers, have asked the United States to provide country-of-origin meat labeling given Canada’s recent case of “mad cow” disease.

“Prior to last week’s actions in the House agriculture appropriations subcommittee, the United States was on the right path to provide the information to U.S. consumers and our trading partners that they are seeking,” he said. “Opponents of mandatory country-of-origin labeling criticize the law’s ‘unintended consequences,’ but losing our number one and three beef export markets and eroding the confidence of American consumers in domestic beef products are, by far, the most devastating unintended consequences imaginable.” “Consumer confidence in our products is absolutely essential to keep our livestock industry healthy,” Frederickson continued. “It seems only prudent to speed up the process of implementing mandatory country-of-origin labeling, and not dismantle the new law before it has had a chance to work. We should all be focused on developing rules that provide accurate and appropriate information to consumers while minimizing the cost and potential liability for producers, processors and retailers.”