Food groups to craft country-of-origin plan
Jan 16, 2004 12:00 PM, from staff and wire reportsAssociations for the nation's leading produce, beef, pork, and seafood producers, along with food retailers and wholesalers, have agreed to create a program to provide consumers country-of-origin information about these products. This is according to an announcement by the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Fisheries Institute, Food Marketing Institute, and National Grocers Association.
This consortium plans to hold a summit in the near future with other concerned segments of the food industry to develop a consensus voluntary labeling program. Producers and retailers are committed to developing a cost-effective replacement to the program mandated in the 2002 farm bill.
These associations aim to complete a labeling program by this spring, involving as many segments of the food industry as possible. They then will work with Congress to codify the program into legislation that replaces the mandatory labeling law.
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that in the first year alone, the mandatory law will cost up to $3.9 billion. Costs will be passed along to consumers or absorbed by producers and retailers in the low-profit food business, according to the associations.