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The US Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday, 81-18, to approve the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which includes a provision delaying to September 30, 2008, mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations covering meat, produce and peanuts. The House approved the bill 318-63 last week, and President Bush has said he plans to sign it.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) released a statement that read, in part:

“This vote underscores the growing recognition in Congress that the mandatory country of origin labeling law is seriously flawed and needs to be replaced with a cost-effective program that works for consumers and U.S. producers.

“The supermarket industry continues to push for a voluntary labeling program that will not increase the cost of food and can be implemented as soon as possible…

“We do not need to wait for an act of Congress to label the origin of products as well. Producers can label where their products come from right now. Retailers will gladly display those labels and use them to promote U.S. foods, as the industry has been doing for years.”
KC's View:
So do it. Make mandatory regulations redundant, or even better, irrelevant.

You have until September 30, 2008…just over a thousand days.

We’ve argued for some time that mandatory COOL makes sense, though we’ve agreed with FMI CEO Tim Hammonds that the burden of record keeping ought to fall on manufacturers and suppliers, not retailers.

But we are more than willing to be proven wrong. Happens all the time.