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PUEBLO—Delegates to the 93rd annual Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) convention, here, Nov. 16-17, commended U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., for pushing for country-of-origin labeling on all meat and produce nationwide. The measure passed by 11-10, to be included in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill.
“On behalf of the many family farmers and ranches that comprise Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, I wish to commend Senator Thomas for his courage and insight to include country-of-origin labeling in this legislation,” said John Stencel, newly-elected RMFU president.
RMFU has been a long-time supporter of country-of-origin labeling for food, saying consumers have the right to know where their food is raised. The organization fought vehemently during last year’s Colorado Legislative Session for passage of a bill that would have required Colorado retail food outlets to label meats, honey and produce with their country of origin. The bill failed to pass out of its committee on a tie vote.
Studies have shown that country-of-origin food labeling is supported by about three-fourths of consumers and data show that labeling costs to retailers and wholesalers are minimal.
“We are pleased to see country-of-origin labeling again included in the Senate Agriculture Committee farm bill, and we urge the full Senate to support it,” Stencel said. “Country-of-origin labeling is a commonsense measure with an overwhelming number of consumers supporting it. American farmers and ranchers are proud of their products and welcome the marketing opportunity afforded them by a mandatory labeling provision.”
Thomas, along with Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., made the amendment to again include the labeling requirement, which had once been part of the new Senate Agriculture Committee farm bill. The full Senate will now debate the farm bill proposal passed by its agriculture committee. Country-of-origin labeling is not included in the House Agriculture Committee bill. RMFU is encouraging its membership and the consuming public to urge members of both the House and Senate to support inclusion of country-of-origin labeling in the final farm bill.
“Perhaps the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, will push lawmakers to put the safety of citizens ahead of the objections of international agribusiness,” Stencel said.
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