If you thought the mandatory effort toward implementing the Country of Origin Labeling bill was officially put on hold with Congress' decision last month in the ag appropriations bill, you might be surprised to here the issue has resurfaced. Then again, when it comes to COOL, nothing should surprise you anymore.
Now, a coalition of Western Senators-- headed by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)-- is working to overturn the provision that delayed implementation of mandatory COOL until Sept. 30, 2008. The coalition is arguing that the approved delay was never offered for a more thorough debate,
Burns has now introduced a bill to push up the implementation date to Sept. 30, 2006. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) also has threatened to introduce a bill barring USDA from grading any imported meat if the mandatory COOL deadline is not returned to 2006.
A little history about COOL might be helpful-- afterall, this issue has been bounced around so much, it's hard to keep track of the bill's original path. The COOL bill was originally set to go into effect in 2004. Congress approved a dealy, pushing it to Sept. 30, 2006, which is where the bill remained until this fall's agricultural appropriations debates and decissions.
Talk about a proverbial bad penny, every time it appears that COOL is put to bed for a while, it resurfaces. It looks like the COOL is going no where fast.