AMI to R-CALF’s Bullard: We Stand By COOL Guidance

US - In a letter sent on Friday to R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard, AMI President J. Patrick Boyle stood by guidance provided last week to meat packers about complying with mandatory country-of-origin labeling.
calendar icon 18 June 2007
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Boyle’s letter followed a June 14 letter from Bullard saying that AMI must rescind its recommendations.

“My letter, which was sent not only to R-CALF but to a number of other state and national organizations that work with or represent the livestock production sector, recognizes that the mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COL) provisions included in the 2002 Farm Bill are scheduled to go into effect on September 30, 2008,” Boyle write. “Notwithstanding AMI’s staunch opposition to COL as a burdensome, protectionist law, the meat industry must take steps to prepare for COL as written, in the event the September 30 date holds and COL becomes effective."

Boyle said AMI wrote to livestock groups after it received a similar letter from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), which represents the retail grocery industry.

“It is AMI’s duty to advise its membership and their livestock suppliers about their potential obligations under the law as currently written. In particular, when we are contacted by a customer organization, we choose to advise our members of that communications,” he said. “This is not, as you claim, some form of coercion or a threat to producers. Indeed, contrary to your assertions it would be irresponsible not to advise the meat packing industry and their livestock suppliers of the requirements they could be facing.”

“Although you may choose to live in denial about our industry’s legal obligations under the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law, we believe it is prudent to take such obligations seriously,” Boyle wrote. “You should expect AMI to represent the best interest of its members and you should not expect a rescission of our recommendations. “

To read the full text of the letter click here.

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