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Outrage in Colorado

Denver—A Colorado rural leader expressed shock and outrage on the vote in the House Appropriations Committee to kill HB 1098, requiring country-of-origin notification on fresh meat, produce and honey. Only one Republican joined the Appropriations Committee Democrats Friday in supporting the bill. Consequently, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Kay Alexander (R-Montrose), and supported by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), died on a 6-6 vote.

“Studies show that the overwhelming majority of consumers support country-of-origin labeling,” said RMFU President, Dave Carter. “Furthermore, producers are proud to have their product stamped ‘Made in the United States.’”

The bill, which would have required retailers to post the country in which the food was produced, carried a fiscal note of no more than $200,000 to enforce the law in 14,000 retail outlets serving over 4 million Coloradoans. “Country-of-origin labeling is particularly important now that the international marketplace is being threatened with devastating animal and human health threats,” Carter said. “With the current atmosphere surrounding the beef industry, the bill’s small fiscal note, and the popularity of labeling with consumers and producers, passage of this bill should have been a no-brainer.”

Carter went on to express his disappointment that only one Republican joined the Democrats in recognizing the importance of this issue. “This bill would have been an opportunity for the beef producers, among others, to draw attention to high-quality American products and provide consumers with important knowledge about the food they buy,” Carter said.

The bill faced sharp opposition from the retail and food processing industry.