Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is calling on the U-S Ag Secretary to immediately set down rules on COOL — country of origin labeling. In a letter to Secretary Mike Johanns, Harkin says the 2002 Farm Bill requires the U-S-D-A to implement a program informing consumers about the country of origin for meat, fruits and vegetables, yet the rules to establish the program are long overdue. Harkin says the letter was points out that Iowans need to know the origin of the meat for sale in their grocery store. He says the measure passed and was part of the Farm Bill and that a voluntary program isn’t needed — it should be mandatory. “It’s important to Iowans to know where their meat and meat products come from. We know where our clothes come from. We now know where our fish comes from, but we don’t know were our meat comes from. Iowans have a right to know,” Harkin says. “It’s not anti-trade or anything, it’s just more in the nature of giving Iowans the ability to decide what they wanna’ buy.” Harkin says the USDA needs to get a rule out now. “More foot dragging and waiting until the last minute to issue a rule will cause even further unnecessary delays for this program,” Harkin says. Harkin is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
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