More voices on COO labeling

The American Meat Institute went on the offensive against proposed mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements.

Speaking at several U.S. Department of Agriculture "listening sessions" around the country, AMI representatives said there is no evidence that such labeling will benefit consumers, retailers, meat packers, or livestock producers. AMI reps undercut the consumer-right-to-know argument by pointing out the inconsistency of requiring COO labels on meat but not poultry, or on peanuts but not walnuts or almonds.

In testimony to a Senate Subcommittee on Marketing, Inspection, and Product Promotion, AMI president J. Patrick Boyle said a voluntary U.S. meat certification program is a better alternative to mandatory COO labeling. AMI and several other associations petitioned USDA more than a year ago to create a new, voluntary, fee-for-service U.S. beef certification program administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service. Such a program would allow the market to determine whether or not consumers prefer and will pay more for meat products from U.S.-born and raised animals.

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