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The US House of Representatives reportedly will attempt to repeal mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) legislation before Thanksgiving, emboldened by the Republican Party’s election wins of just a few weeks ago. Expectations are that the US Senate will agree to the repeal now that COOL’s chief supporter, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) has been defeated, and President Bush, who never supported mandatory COOL, is certain to sign any repeal bill that goes before him.

COOL was originally passed as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, but Congress postponed its provisions last year until 2006.

The US department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated the cost of mandatory COOL regulations could range from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in the first year alone, and industry groups have supported a less expensive and onerous voluntary program.
KC's View:
Here will be the measure of the sincerity and commitment of the industry groups that prefer voluntary COOL standards to the mandatory variety.

On Thanksgiving 2006, let’s see how many products in American supermarkets carry Country of Origin labels. Anybody want to gamble on what the over-under will be?

Meaningful voluntary programs are fine. Let’s see how consequential this one ends up being.