Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) have introduced new legislation that would implement country-of-origin labeling by the original Sept. 30, 2004 deadline. The legislation comes at the same time that reports indicate USDA recently allowed the import of processed Canadian beef in to the United States.
"I'm extraordinarily concerned by the news that American consumers have
been unknowingly exposed to Canadian beef products," said Sen. Daschle. "The news only underscores the need for mandatory country-of-origin labeling to ensure that American consumers know where their food comes from,"
"I am outraged to learn that American consumers were mislead by USDA,"
said Johnson, who called for an Inspector General investigation into Canadian beef entering the United States during an import "freeze."
COOL was originally included in the 2002 Farm Bill. It would have required USDA
to implement country-of-origin labeling by this September. However, after much wrangling, especially in the House, language in last year's omnibus appropriations bill delayed COOL implementation until September 2006. COOL continued to garner more support in the U.S. Senate, approving a Daschle amendment by a vote of 58 to 36 last November that called for timely implementation of COOL.
Johnson authored the original COOL provision passed in the 2002 Farm Bill.
"Delaying the implementation of country-of-origin labeling is simply unacceptable, and I have invoked a special rule that will place the bill directly on the Senate calendar," said Daschle. "I urge the majority leader to call up the bill in the very near future."