Food nationality

first_imgBy Nancy WiedmannGeorgia Beef BoardGroups representing America’s cattle ranchers, pork producers,seafood producers and produce grower-shippers are supporting aproposed plan to label domestic produced fruits, vegetables,beef, pork and seafood with labels displaying their U.S. origin. Some produce already labeledThe fresh produce industry supports the program as well.”The fruit and vegetable industry is committed to providingconsumers country-of-origin information on our products,” saidUFFVA President Tom Stenzel. “This legislation provides theframework for the produce industry to implement our commitment towidespread origin labeling, with strong oversight by theDepartment of Agriculture to measure our results, andcomprehensive reporting back to the Congress.”Today, more than 75 percent of produce offered for sale in U.S.retail stores carries some labeling mechanism such as a stickeror package, which can be adapted to include origin labeling.”We (producer groups) all agree that the goal is to giveconsumers useful information about where their food comes from,”said Kathy Means, vice president of government relations at PMA.”This legislation puts the labeling responsibility in the handsof marketers and the decision-making in the hands of consumers.” Country-of-origin labelsThis new voluntary market-based program could offer consumersadditional choices and information about agriculture products’origins as well as benefit U.S. producers by promotingAmerican-grown foods.Announced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman BobGoodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Minority Member Charles Stenholm(D-TX), theproposed “Food Promotion Act of 2004,” will amend theAgricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to direct the Secretary ofAgriculture to establish the voluntary labeling of produce, meat(including beef, pork, veal, lamb) and seafood withcountry-of-origin information. The labels are aimed at encouragingconsumers to choose American products at their supermarkets.The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National PorkProducers Council (NPPC), National Fisheries Institute (NFI),United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association (UFFVA) and ProduceMarketing Association (PMA) voiced strong support and gave thanksto Representatives Goodlatte and Stenholm for spearheading thebipartisan effort aimed at giving both consumers and producers amarket-driven, cost-effective labeling program.center_img Informs consumers, doesn’t burden producers”Cattle producers have been working for years in support of alabeling program that promotes U.S. beef without overburdeningproducers,” said Jan Lyons, NCBA president and a Kansas cattleproducer. “The initiative put forth by Representatives Goodlatteand Stenholm represents a market-based solution which promotesAmerican beef, without the costs and liabilities of a governmentmandated program.”America’s pork producers have long supported a workable,voluntary country-of-origin labeling program that may add valueto America’s pork products. “The proposed voluntary country-of-origin labeling system isdesigned to inform consumers without unduly burdening producers,”said Joy Philippi, NPPC vice president and a pork producer fromBruning, Neb. “We’ve long supported producers, packers andprocessors who choose to explore alternative markets to builddemand for their products.””The current regulation, as written, is unworkable, especially inthe context of wild-caught seafood,” said Justin LeBlanc, vicepresident of government relations at NFI. “A voluntary programachieves a marketing advantage for seafood producers without thecost and confusion of the mandatory rule.”last_img

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