COOL bill for processed foods to be introduced

by Keith Nunes
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CLEVELAND ― Next week, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio intends to introduce legislation requiring country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for processed foods, according to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (O.F.B.F.).

"From food to toothpaste, toys to tires, we must do more to protect our families from contaminated and defective imports," Mr. Brown said. "We need a new approach to import safety. We need to inform and protect consumers, while holding distributors accountable for the safety of the products they import."

The O.F.B.F. said Mr. Brown will introduce legislation that makes labeling more transparent and uniform for manufactured foods. The bill would make COOL mandatory for processed foods. This would be an expansion of provisions in the 2002 farm bill that established country-of-origin labeling for meat, fruits, vegetables and seafood. After repeated statutory and regulatory delays, the new labeling requirements are scheduled to go into effect in September of 2008.

The Food and Product Responsibility Act of 2007, introduced Sept. 20, would require distributors of food and consumer products demonstrate the financial capacity to cover risks associated with recalls and product safety. In addition, Brown’s Bill would grant the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to require recalls of meat, poultry, and egg products and grant the Food and Drug Administration the authority to require recalls for the products it regulates.

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