ARLINGTON, VA, February 12, 2008

          Contact:     Bill Greer

Food Marketing Institute Statement on
Proposed ‘User Fees’ to Fund Enforcement of the COOL Law

Attribute to John J. Motley, III
FMI senior vice president of government and public affairs

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal to charge food retailers ‘user fees’ to enforce the country of origin labeling law (COOL) is outrageous. It violates the government’s own definition of ‘user fees,’ which are supposed to provide the user a clear benefit. USDA is pursuing a backdoor method to pay for a government regulation, costing the industry $9.6 million in 2009.

“The only good news is that this idea is opposed by just about everyone affected by COOL, including produce growers, meat producers and even the law’s strongest proponents: the National Farmers Union and R-CALF.

“This abusive amendment does not merit consideration by Congress. FMI is working vigorously with Congress to ensure it is not attached to the Farm Bill, the government’s fiscal year 2009 budget or any other legislation.”