WASHINGTON, DC — November 3, 2005 — This morning the Senate voted 81-18 to approve the FY-2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which includes a provision delaying to September 30, 2008, mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for meat, produce and peanuts. The House approved the bill 318-63 last week. In response to these votes, FMI released the following statement:

This vote underscores the growing recognition in Congress that the mandatory country of origin labeling law is seriously flawed and needs to be replaced with a cost-effective program that works for consumers and U.S. producers.

The supermarket industry continues to push for a voluntary labeling program that will not increase the cost of food and can be implemented as soon as possible.

This program builds on the success of hundreds of initiatives that label the origin of foods by state or recognizable U.S. brands — from Washington apples to Florida oranges to Black Angus beef.

We do not need to wait for an act of Congress to label the origin of products as well. Producers can label where their products come from right now. Retailers will gladly display those labels and use them to promote U.S. foods, as the industry has been doing for years.