Beef Market Advisor

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

U.S. Farm Bill On Country Origin Labeling

Senate and House Versions with Conference Committee Recommendations

(27) Country of Origin Labeling of Perishable Agricultural Commodities.
The House bill amends the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, 7 USC
499a, to mandate country of origin labeling on all perishable agriculture commodities,
including both imported and domestically produced commodities by adding the following
sections:
Sec. 18(a) A retailer of a perishable agricultural commodity shall inform
consumers, at the final point of sale of the perishable agricultural commodity to
consumers, of the country of origin of the perishable agricultural commodity. This
applies to both imported and domestically produced commodities.
Sec. 18(b) Provides an exemption for the labeling requirements for perishable
agricultural commodities that are prepared in a food establishment, sold or offered for
sale at the food service establishment in normal retail quantities and served to consumers
at the food service establishment.
Sec 18(c) The information regarding the country of origin may be provided to
consumers via a label, stamp, mark, placard, or other clear and visible sign on the
perishable agricultural commodity or on the package, display, holding unit, or bin
containing the commodity at the final point of sale to consumers. A retailer is not
required to provide any additional information on a commodity that has already been
individually labeled with the country of origin by the packer, importer, or other
individual.
USDA may assess Sec. 18(d) Civil penalties ($1,000 for the first thy the violation
occurs; $250 for each day the violation continues) against any retailer who fails to
indicate the country of origin.
Sec. 18(e) Amounts collected under subsection (d) shall be deposited in the
Treasury.
The House bill states the provision would take effect six month following
enactment. (Section 944)
The Senate amendment amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C.
1621 et seq.). Sec. 281 & Sec. 282(a)(1) requires labeling for muscle cuts and ground
beef, lamb and pork as well as farm-raised fish and shellfish (including steaks, nuggets
and any other flesh from farmed raised fish and shellfish) and produce as defined in the
Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
Sec. 282(a)(2) Only those products that are exclusively born, raised and
slaughtered, hatched, raised, harvested, and processed and produced in the U.S. may be
designated as U.S. country of origin.
Sec 282(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply if the covered commodity is prepared or
served in a food service establishment and offered for sale or sold at the food service
establishment in normal retail quantities or served to consumers at the food service
establishment.
Sec. 282(c) The information regarding the country of origin may be provided to
consumers via a label, stamp, mark, placard, or other clear and visible sign on the
perishable agricultural commodity or on the package, display, holding unit, or bin
containing the commodity at the final point of sale to consumers.
Sec. 282(d) Those who prepare, store, handle or distribute a covered commodity
shall maintain a verifiable record keeping an audit trail.
Sec. 282(e) Any person engaged in the business of supplying a covered
commodity to a retailer shall provide information to the retailer indicating the country of
origin of the covered commodity.
Sec. 282(0 The Secretary shall not establish a mandatory identification system to
verify the country of origin of a covered commodity. Model certification programs the
Secretary can use for verification purposes include the carcass grading system, voluntary
country of origin beef labeling system, and those systems used to carry out market access
program under the Agricultural Trade Act and the National School Lunch Act.
Sec. 283 The Secretary of USDA will notify a retailer if a violation is found, give
the retailer 30 days to cure, provide notice and an opportunity for a hearing and may fine
the retailer in an amount determined by the Secretary.
Sec. 284 The Secretary may promulgate regulations and may enter into
partnerships with individual states for enforcement purposes.
Sec. 285 Takes effect 180 days following enactment. (Sec. 1001)

Conference Committee Recommendation

The Conference substitute adopts the Senate language with an amendment to
provide for the implementation of two-years of voluntary guidelines to precede
mandatory labeling. The exclusion from a covered commodity has been further defined
to include items that are an ingredient in a processed food item. The conference
substitute provides that animals trans-shipped from Alaska or Hawaii through Canada
shall be eligible to be designated as "U.S. Country of Origin" as long as the period of
trans-shipment does not exceed 60 days. (Sec. 10506)



posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 6:51 PM [edit]

Farm Bill Conference Committee Notes on Packer Ownership Of Cattle
Presents the Senate and House Positions, then, the Conference Committee's Recommendation

(60) Packer Ownership
The Senate amendment adds a new subsection to the Packers and Stockyards Act
that prohibits meat packers from owning or feeding livestock directly, through a
subsidiary, or through an arrangement that gives the packer operational, managerial, or
supervisory control over the livestock, or over the farming operation that produces the
livestock, to such an extent that the producer is no longer materially participating in the
management of the operation with respect to the production of the livestock.
Exempts from prohibition
1. Arrangements entered into within 14 days before slaughter;
2. A cooperative or entity owned by a cooperative, if a majority of the ownership
interest in the coop is held by active coop members that own, feed, or control
livestock and provide the livestock to the coop; and
3. A packer that is owned by producers of a type of livestock, if during a calendar
year the packer slaughters less than 2 percent of the head of that type of livestock
in the U.S. (Sec. 1072 which amends Sec. 1043)
The House bill contains no comparable provision.
The Conference substitute deletes the Senate provision.

(37) Packer Ownership.
The Senate amendment amends Section 202 of the Packers and Stockyards Act of
1921 (7 U.S.C. 192(f)) (as amended by section 1043(a)) by banning ownership or control
of livestock by a packer prior to 14 days before slaughter. An exemption from the ban is
provided for any packer that is a cooperative entity with a majority ownership interest
held by livestock producers who own, feed or control their own livestock which are
provided to the cooperative for slaughter, or for any packer who kills less than 2 percent
of the total U.S. annual slaughter for that type of livestock. In general, the ban becomes
effective upon enactment of the Act, but packers of swine would not be required to
complete livestock divestitures until 18 months following the enactment of the Act. For
packers of any other type of livestock, the ban would become effective no later than 180
days following enactment of the Act. (Section 1043, amended by Sec. 1072 of the Senate
amendment below).
The House bill contains no comparable provision.
The Conference substitute deletes the Senate provision.
The Managers recognize the importance of Congress holding hearings to address
issues affecting livestock producers, such as agribusiness consolidation, and livestock
marketing issues.

posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 6:32 PM [edit]


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