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A COOL Victory in Montana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2005
Contact: Emily Eisenberg,
202.314.3104
eeisenberg@nfudc.org

(WASHINGTON - April 14, 2005) National Farmers Union applauds today’s passage of mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef in the Montana state legislature.  While the perennial efforts to kill mandatory country of origin labeling are heating up in Washington, state legislatures across the nation are taking action to keep COOL.

"The passage of this state law sends a clear message to the administration that we will not stand idly by as it refuses to implement a law that the U.S. Congress has already passed," said Montana Farmers Union President Brooks Dailey.

The state legislation will require that meat sold in Montana be labeled as to its country of origin, starting September 2006. The bill will also allow Montana farmers and ranchers to label their products as "Made in Montana" to give consumers the opportunity to support high quality Montana-raised products.

The Montana COOL law is the latest in series of positive steps towards implementing mandatory COOL across the nation. Last week seafood COOL took effect nationwide, and the California Assembly Committee on Health approved a state mandatory COOL bill for meat.

The NFU has long supported mandatory country-of-origin labeling of all agricultural commodities and products as a way to provide consumers with the knowledge to make more informed choices about the products they purchase and to serve as a beneficial marketing tool for U.S. producers to compete with the flood of food imported into the United States. Last year, in a back room deal among the leadership of the House and Senate, a two-year delay of the implementation of COOL was included in the must-pass legislation to fund the federal government. As a result, states legislators have had to introduce their own country of origin labeling laws.

"This legislation exists because consumers and producers are demanding it," said Dailey. "We hope that Washington will think twice before repealing a law that has broad support in the states."

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