The food industry has lobbied hard against such labeling, saying it would cost millions of dollars to implement for little or no benefit to consumers. Opponents are hoping to persuade congress to repeal the labeling program. Subcommittee chairman Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) said all those concerned needed more time to consider all the ramifications.
Mandatory country-of-origin labeling is to take effect in September 2004. Labeling supporters, including Rep. Tim Johnson (D-SD) said the labeling system could have helped U.S. and Canadian officials search for and identify any animals linked to the recent incidence of mad cow disease in Canada.