CFA Opposes Meat Promotion Act

May 5, 2005
Chris Waldrop

Consumer Federation of America opposes the efforts of Congressmen Goodlatte, Berry and Blunt to create a voluntary country-of-origin labeling program for meat. CFA has long supported a mandatory country of origin labeling program for meat, seafood and fresh produce as a means of providing consumers important additional information about the source of their food.

Voluntary labeling has been an option for years, yet few processors and packers have been willing to participate. The only time these large processors and packers support a voluntary system is when they are trying to kill the mandatory one.

Without full participation from all actors in a country of origin labeling program, consumer confusion can arise, especially during incidents such as the mad cow scare or foodborne illness outbreaks from imported food. When these incidents occur, it becomes even more necessary that consumers are able to confidently determine where their food comes from. A voluntary program will not provide the level of assurance that a mandatory program can provide.

CFA opposes the Meat Promotion Act of 2005 and any future attempts to repeal mandatory COOL. Numerous polls have shown overwhelming consumer support for labeling as well as the willingness to pay extra for such information. Any attempts to change COOL to a voluntary program will only serve to deny consumers vital information about the source of their food.

The Consumer Federation of America is a non-profit association of 300 consumer groups representing more than 50 million Americans that seeks to advance the consumer interest through research, education and advocacy.