business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has released a statement applauding Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) for introducing legislation “to replace the costly and unworkable mandatory country of origin labeling law with a voluntary program for labeling produce, meat, seafood and peanuts.”

“This legislation will give U.S. consumers and producers a country of origin labeling program that works, is cost-effective and builds on successful programs already in place,” said Tim Hammonds, FMI president/CEO. “It will free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of the mandatory labeling law.”

The bill, titled the Food Promotion Act of 2005, directs the US secretary of agriculture to develop voluntary country of origin labeling programs for produce, beef, veal, lamb, pork and fish. Like the mandatory labeling law, the goals are to increase sales of U.S. products and inform consumers where these foods come from. According to FMI, “the voluntary law would cut costs by giving the secretary of agriculture the authority to recognize U.S. state, regional and brand labeling programs. In this manner, Hammonds said, the legislation builds on proven programs that succeed because they are voluntary, flexible and clearly benefit consumers, producers and retailers.

“The record-keeping provisions do not include the extensive third-party audits and other paperwork requirements in the mandatory law. These measures are redundant and unneeded, Hammonds said, given the requirements of current laws and enforcement measures under state and federal truth-in-labeling statutes.”
KC's View: