The U.S. Congress has elected to forego proposed legislation that would have established a voluntary country-of-origin labeling program. This means that the mandatory COOL program, at least for now, will proceed as previously outlined.

“The regulatory burden and costs– estimated to be $3.9 billion in the first year of implementation– of mandatory country-of-origin labeling falls disproportionately on the independent and smaller pork producers, which is unfortunate,” says Jon Caspers, National Pork Producers Council immediate past president. “We (NPPC) are extremely disappointed that a voluntary system will not be implemented.”

Caspers contends that pork producers have long supported efforts to replace a government-mandated mandatory labeling program with a market-driven, cost-effective voluntary program. “A workable voluntary program needs the commitment of all food-chain segments to work together to benefit producers and consumers by providing product-origin information, and not adding unnecessary costs without demonstrated benefits,” he says. “NPPC will continue to work to educate members of Congress about the many problems associated with the mandatory labeling law and the benefits of instituting a voluntary program instead.”