GOP Doesn’t See Anything Cool in Labeling Law

Discussion
Nov 18, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Republicans, with the elections giving them greater control of the House and Senate, aren’t waiting for the next session of Congress to begin pushing their agenda for change.

A case in point, reports the Associated Press, is the push to repeal country of original labeling (COOL) laws passed by Congress in 2002 that are supposed to go into effect in 2006.

The labeling system was intended to give a helping hand to domestic suppliers of produce and meat but has been strongly criticized by many of those it was intended to help for adding costs with negligible benefit. The government’s own numbers, calculated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), place the price tag for the industry at hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in the first year alone.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R – Mo.) said he expected the Senate to pass the repeal measure. “I can’t find any real opposition to doing exactly what we want to do here.”

One opponent to repealing COOL is the outgoing Senate minority leader, Tom Daschle (D – S.D.). “For Republicans to deny Americans the opportunity to ‘buy American’ at the grocery store is anti-consumer, anti-farmer and anti-rancher,” he said.

Moderator’s Comment: Should the country of origin labeling law be repealed?

We’ve maintained from day one that this is nothing more than a marketing program. If it actually had something to do with food safety, which it doesn’t,
then perhaps added costs could be justified. This was a bad law in 2002 and, thankfully, its repeal is not far away.

George Anderson – Moderator

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