BSE case makes COOL more important


(12/31/2003)

From: MFU President Doug Peterson

COOL or Country-of-Origin Labeling is now more important than ever because of what has happened with BSE (Mad Cow Disease). U.S. officials have discovered that a BSE-infected cow in Washington State came from Canada.

Our consumers have said that they want Country-of-Origin Labeling because they trust U.S. food products. COOL can help to maintain consumer confidence in our food supply, and Congress should make sure it becomes law. In addition, Congress should develop a compensation program for our cattle producers who"”through no fault of their own"”could lose money in a BSE-depressed market.

Because another BSE case was identified in Canada earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture should stop its plans to re-open the border to live cattle shipments, and rescind its plans to allow meat imports from Canada.

Federal officials should also look at longer-term actions for food safety. Officials should implement a mandatory animal identification system, while Congress and the Bush Administration should develop a single independent food safety agency outside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Additional stronger steps could include the banning of processing, blending, and shipment of cows suspected of having BSE. Congress could also pass legislation regarding the handling of downed animals.

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