Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) announced Friday that he and Senator Craig Thomas, (R-WY) have introduced a bill that would move up the deadline for all meat products to carry a country-of-origin label.
"It's time for Congress to heed the will of the people - producers and consumers in Montana and the rest of the country want COOL, and it's time we make that happen," Baucus said in a news release.
The deadline would be moved up from Sept. 30, 2008, to Sept. 30 of this year.
Supporters of labeling say it would give consumers more information and enable them to choose American beef. But meatpackers and supermarkets say the measure would be burdensome and costly, requiring reams of paperwork.
Among the supporters of the measure are Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). Country-of-origin labeling was included in the 2002 farm bill and was set to go into effect on Sept. 30, 2004, for beef, lamb, pork, fish, fruits and vegetables. Congress has repeatedly pushed back the deadline for all products in the bill except seafood.