To the Editor:
Concerned Western Slope consumers and agricultural producers have a small window of opportunity this week to show support for Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) of food. Currently, mandatory labeling exists for a number of products from clothing to auto parts, but not for our food.
Why is this important? We now receive beef and live cattle from 26 foreign nations. There are times of the year when almost 100 percent of our produce is imported. Dried apricots, for example, are coming almost exclusively from Turkey. Much of our honey comes from Argentina and China, apples and grapes from Chile and Honduras. All of these are products that are produced in our region. Yet, there is no labeling required to help us as consumers choose America first.
Please contact our senators today and let them know you support Country of Origin Labeling which the Senate Ag Committee has added to the Senate version of the new Farm Bill. It's the COOL thing to do! The senate Ag Committee amendment requires country of origin labeling for meat, fish, produce and peanuts. It requires ground beef be labeled (the majority of imported beef product is ground beef.) Only livestock born, fed, raised and slaughtered in the USA will be eligible for a "USA" label. And lastly, the USDA Quality Grade Stamp would no longer be allowed on imported meat.
All of these are simply common sense provisions that allow us as consumers a choice in the selection of our food for our families. Call Sen. Wayne Allard at (202) 224-5941, or fax (202) 224-6471. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell can be reached at (202) 224-5852, or fax (202) 224-1933. Sen. Allard voted against Country of Origin Labeling in committee. A U.S. Senate floor vote on this is expected this week.
Thanks for your attention to this matter which is critical to America and American agriculture!
Kathleen S. Kelley, R-Calif.
(Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund,
United Stockgrowers of America