National Pork Producers Council president Jon Caspers today commended the House of Representatives for its passage of the fiscal year 2004 Agriculture Appropriations bill that contained a measure to block implementation of mandatory country-of-origin labeling (MCOOL) for retail meat products.

Caspers, a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa, noted that the bill H.R.2673, included an amendment offered by House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) that prohibits the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from utilizing any appropriated funds for the enforcement of the MCOOL mandates for meat products.

“The country-of-origin labeling law as currently written clearly requires more Congressional attention,” Caspers said. “NPPC is pleased that members of Congress have recognized that there are many concerns among producers over the tremendous potential for unintended consequences.”

According to Caspers, the issues currently being debated are complicated and more time is needed for a thorough review of a provision that could negatively impact the U.S. pork industry.  “This law has far reaching implications beyond a consumers right to know where their pork chops came from,” Caspers said. “We look forward to resolving these issues and to further educating lawmakers and consumers in coming months.”

National Pork Producers Council