Country of origin

Diehards are still attempting to require front panel country-of-origin marking on packages of frozen fruits and vegetables. In the latest developments, Rep.

Terry Everett (R-AL) introduced legislation that mirrors a proposed regulation by the U.S. Customs Service mandating such labeling. American Frozen Food Institute President and CEO Steven C. Anderson denounced the bill as "every bit as unnecessary and potentially damaging" to U.S. agriculture and industry as the Customs' proposal. Meanwhile, Customs reopened the comment period on its proposed regulation for 60 days. During the previous comment period, which ended September 23, 1996, the agency received 401 responses, of which only one supported its labeling proposal. AFFI charged Customs was trying to "stuff the ballot box" by reopening the comment period. In other country-of-origin labeling news, the Food Industry Trade Coalition continues to oppose the three specific legislative proposals now before Congress. In addition to Everett's bill, they include Rep. Sonny Bono's (R-CA) bill mandating country-of-origin labeling for produce at the retail level and a bill sponsored by Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) requiring identification of not only the country of origin of a meat product but also the country of origin of the animals from which the meat is derived.

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