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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In an ad in Capitol Hill's Roll Call newspaper, the American Meat Institute (AMI) here urged readers to "peel away the rhetorical wrapping paper" on mandatory country-of-origin labeling and see that the costly and burdensome law is actually an effort to block meat and livestock exports from other countries.
In the ad, AMI stressed that the U.S. already has a country of origin labeling program for imported meat and poultry. Finished products like Danish hams or New Zealand lamb bear labels saying "Product of Denmark" or "Product of New Zealand." AMI questioned the notion that consumers are willing to pay more for products that tell where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
"The protectionists' true motives are to make compliance with this law so difficult that U.S. meat packers will source livestock and meat products in the U.S. exclusively," the ad said. "But their short-sighted approach to limiting competition is sure to invite well-justified trade complaints under the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement," the ad says.