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American Corn Growers join 126 organizations demanding implementation of labeling law

(Tuesday, April 13, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- From an April 12 news release:

Contact: Larry Mitchell (202) 835-0330

Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., has announced his organization, as part of a coalition of 126 agriculture and consumer groups, has sent letters to President Bush and Congress reaffirming strong support for country of origin labeling (COOL) for many of the foods sold in the U.S. Passed by Congress and signed into law over two years ago by the President as part of the 2002 farm bill, COOL is mandated for many products by this coming fall. ACGA, as part of The Americans for Country of Origin Labeling (ACOL) coalition, maintains its commitment to seeing COOL implemented on time for fruits, vegetables, peanuts, red meat and fish.

In their letter to the President, the coalition commended President Bush for his comments at the Twenty-first Century Forum held in Cleveland, Ohio, where he stated the best products on any shelf in the world say, "Made in the USA". The coalition wrote of their support for the president's statement and reiterated their "support for mandatory COOL, which will provide American consumers the ability to differentiate food products on U.S. grocery store shelves." In their letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the coalition urged support and cosponsorship of the Country-of-Origin Labeling Enhancement Act, (H.R. 3993) that ensures COOL is implemented by Sept. 30, 2004, as originally scheduled in the 2002 farm bill. This legislation, introduced by Representatives Mary Bono, R-Calif., and Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., would restore the original implementation date.

"When asked in a random, scientific survey, 91 percent of corn farmers polled agreed that the USDA should follow the law as passed by Congress and its intent by requiring Country of Origin labeling on imported meat from foreign countries," said Dittrich. "The fiscal year 2005 omnibus appropriations bill included a provision which delayed the implementation for COOL by two years on all commodities except fish. Therefore we support the Bono-Hooley legislation to reinstate the original deadline for implementation. We also call upon the President to provide the leadership to advance this law as it is very much in line with his recent remarks about 'Made in the USA' at the Twenty-first Century Forum."

Dittrich also remarked, "It is difficult to understand why some of the organizations that didn't sign this letter believe in voluntary COOL, but want to mandate check-offs from farm and ranch families."

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See www.acga.org .