Washington, D.C. -- The American Meat Institute (AMI) today applauded the introduction of H.R. 2068, which will allow consumers to determine the availability of country-of-origin labeling for meat products.
The Meat Promotion Act would
provide a framework for converting mandatory
country-of-origin labeling, which must be
implemented by September 30, 2006, to a
voluntary program administered by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to AMI, upon reviewing the
rules that implemented mandatory
country-of-origin labeling, the federal Office
of Management and Budget called it one of the
most costly regulatory initiatives it had seen
during the first Bush Administration. USDA
estimates that first year costs for mandatory
country-of-origin labeling will be $3.9 billion
dollars for all affected industries, with $2.4
billion borne by the U.S. meat industry alone.
Consumer research has not demonstrated
strong demand for country-of origin-labeling,
according to AMI, a fact that raises major
questions about the wisdom of imposing huge
costs and driving up meat prices for consumers.
When the International Food Information Council
asked 1,000 consumers if there is anything not
on a food label that they’d like to see,
three quarters said no and less than one
percent mentioned country-of-origin
According to AMI, the beef
industry, in particular, has been badly hurt by
the loss of export markets for beef products
following a single case of BSE in 2003.
“Imposing added burdens on a financially
strained industry with a lack of any
demonstrable consumer demand is misguided
public policy and we are pleased the members of
the House are recognizing this fact,” said
AMI President J. Patrick Boyle.
Consumers are paying record high prices
for beef due to tight supplies and a closed
U.S.-Canadian border. The costly labeling
program stands to raise beef prices even
higher, as well as the prices for pork, lamb
and veal, and could erode consumer demand for
meat products, according to AMI. By contrast,
poultry products, which are exempt from the
law, could be the big winner because they will
experience an economic advantage relative to
their red meat counterparts.
to keep the meat industry nimble and
competitive, especially in these tough economic
times,” Boyle said. “Putting consumers in
the demand driver seat by making
country-of-origin labeling voluntary is smart
AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE APPLAUDS INTRODUCTION OF BILL TO ALLOW CONSUMERS TO DRIVE NEED FOR COUNTRY-OF-ORIGIN LABELINGWednesday, May 4, 2005
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