Sunkist goes voluntary on COOL

Hoping to demonstrate that a voluntary country-of-origin labeling program works better than the government’s proposed mandatory program, Sunkist Growers, Inc., has decided to add “USA” to the labels placed on individually sold oranges, lemons, tangerines, and grapefruits.

The California company already so labels its bagged fruit and packing boxes. It said the government’s proposed mandatory regulations had too many bureaucratic and implementation issues. It hopes a successful voluntary program may result in more sensible regulations.

Congress delayed for two years implementation of mandatory labeling for everything except seafood. But COOL supporters, including Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA), continued to press for restoring the September 2004 compliance date. She introduced legislation that would both restore the compliance date and streamline the labeling program.

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