Daschle: Implement label regulations immediately

Daschle: Implement label regulations immediately In light of the mad cow incident, Senator Tom Daschle has called on USDA to immediately implement a program that would essentially expand the "Made in the USA" labeling campaign to cover meat and produce.

USDA was given the authority to implement the effort, known as country-of-origin labeling (COOL), in the 2002 Farm Bill. The law stipulates that cattle must be born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States in order to receive the "100% USA" label. If the law had already been implemented, the Canadian-born Holstein in Washington state that was diagnosed with mad cow in December, could not have been labeled a U.S. product.

"Americans have faith in American beef and they deserve to know what they're buying at the grocery store," said Daschle. "In order to maintain consumer confidence, the Bush Administration should immediately implement country-of-origin labeling."

But even as consumers await action by the Bush Administration to begin the labeling program, Republican congressional leaders are preparing to effectively kill it.

Republican leaders secretly added a provision to the FY2004 Omnibus Appropriations bill to delay for two years the implementation of country-of-origin labeling.

"Our farmers and ranchers deserve the right to differentiate their products from foreign foods," said Daschle. "And consumers have a right to know. The country-of-origin labeling law enables Americans to perform a simple but significant act of patriotism every time they visit the grocery store."

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