CGA Applauds Schwarzenegger's Veto Of Mandatory COOL for Beef

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of mandatory country-of-origin labeling bill was met with praise by California grocers opposed to the measure due to its burden to grocers, government, and consumers.

"We applaud the Governor for vetoing what would have been a very costly program to consumers, retailers and government to implement," said CGA president Peter Larkin.

The bill would have required retailers selling unprocessed beef to ensure there is a country-of-origin label on each product.

In a letter to the Governor, CGA had outlined three areas of concern: country of origin labeling legislation that is already being addressed at the federal level; the extremely expensive and burdensome nature of compliance for retailers; and the high costs associated with state and local enforcement and administration.

In 2002, Congress enacted a mandatory federal country-of-origin labeling
program. Earlier this year, labeling requirements went into effect for
seafood products. All other commodities are scheduled for the end of
September 2006.

"Already Congress is considering significant changes to the current
mandatory federal program," said Larkin. "They have discovered the program
is extremely expensive, and difficult and confusing to administer. Plus, any
attempt to accurately track beef with near 100 percent accuracy would be
extremely expensive and eventually would have to be passed on to consumers
whether they see value in the label or not."

Representing the food industry since 1898, CGA represents approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 food stores in California and Nevada, and approximately 200 grocery supplier companies. Retail membership includes chain and independent supermarkets, convenience stores and mass merchandisers.
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