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    U.S. Food Producers Agree That Labeling Law Should Be Changed

    WASHINGTON -- Although producers have a favorable opinion of country-of-origin labeling, a study released today shows that nearly two in three (62 percent) of the nation's meat, vegetable, and fruit producers oppose the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law in its current form and want Congress to change or repeal the law before it goes into effect.

    WASHINGTON -- Although producers have a favorable opinion of country-of-origin labeling, a study released today shows that nearly two in three (62 percent) of the nation's meat, vegetable, and fruit producers oppose the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law in its current form and want Congress to change or repeal the law before it goes into effect.

    The survey, commissioned by the Food Marketing Institute, shows uncertainty and concern among producers about the impact of the provision of the 2002 farm bill that would require beef, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, fruits, vegetables, and peanuts to bear labeling starting in September 2004.

    Asked if the bill will achieve its primary purpose -- increasing overall U.S. producer sales -- producers are not optimistic. The majority (53 percent) say they are "not very/not at all confident" that sales will increase under the new law, while just over two in five (41 percent) are "very/somewhat confident."

    In addition, only 39 percent of respondents believe the potential benefits of the complicated new law will outweigh its costs.

    Tim Hammonds, FMI's president and c.e.o., says the poll results "reflect the growing apprehension in the producer/supplier community as it becomes clear what the total industry needs to do to prepare for the day the new law goes into effect."

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