Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Monday, March 19, 2007

Under Secretary Bruce Knight - COOL is Like Liver

Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling implementation moving forward

Tuesday, February 20, 2007, by Tom Steever, Brownfield Radio News Network

Audio related to this story

editor's note... the views stated in this article are those of Bruce Knight, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and do not reflect the opinions of the Center for Rural Affairs... John Crabtree, Blog for Rural America editor.

Mandatory country of origin labeling is moving toward implementation over the next year and a half, but with some changes, according to Bruce Knight, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

“I’ll be going through things to see if there’s options for flexibility or not,” Knight told Brownfield Tuesday in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Whether people embrace the issue or not, Knight says those who are on middle ground are rare, and most do not like the original proposed rule because of its exemptions of poultry and retail food service items.

“I want to re-launch that rule making process, I want to go through a robust economic analysis (and) figure out how to make this law that’s on the books workable and implementable by September 30, 2008,” Knight said.

The administration stance is that COOL should be voluntary and market driven, according to Knight, however he says consumers are not willing to voluntarily pay for a “grown-in-the-U.S.” label. “The debate will continue,” said Knight. “It is law, however, and we will move forward and implement that law.

Agree? Disagree? Post a comment here or contact John Crabtree,

I encourage those that disagree with Under Secretary Knight to call him at 202-720-4256 and let him know.

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

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  • At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    who the hell is this guy?

  • At 6:21 PM, Blogger Center for Rural Affairs said…

    Bruce Knight is the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, and therefore in charge of implementing Country of Origin Labeling (which I am sure you knew). The purpose of my comment is to let folks know that I called Bruce Knight today, his secretary said he was in a meeting, but I left a message with my thoughts on his comments - and I had some interesting thoughts.

  • At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i like liver, i just wish i knew what country it came from
    whiting, iowa

  • At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    NCBA, the packers, the big grocers... they are the ones that don't want COOL implemented, shows you whose side USDA is on

  • At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the damn packers have drive to many farmers out of raising livestock around here, I'll call
    Dougherty, Iowa

  • At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I cannot believe that he actually said that, I mean, I listened to the audio so I know that he did, but I still cannot believe it.

  • At 3:47 PM, Anonymous lisa said…

    as this moves forward farmers and ranchers need to stay alert to the “changes” being proposed for COOL. I smell something cooking here that reeks of NAIS — not liver.

  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger Center for Rural Affairs said…

    editor's note...
    a glossary of acronyms
    USDA - United State Department of Agriculture
    NCBA - National Cattlemen's Beef Association
    COOL - country of origin labeling
    NAIS - national animal identification system
    Liver - well, liver stands for liver

    John Crabtree,
    Center for Rural Affairs
    Values. Worth. Action.

  • At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    John, you forgot some of the other stinkers in this
    National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), American Meat Institute (AMI) and I'm sure the grocers have some group too. Oh, and don't forget GWB (he's the President, they're the ones that don't like this but seem to love animal id, go figure)
    whiting, iowa

  • At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey John, I called too, he's still in a meeting, lol

  • At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i don't understand what lisa meant about COOL being involved with NAIS

  • At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i can't speak for lisa, but some people think that USDA and others might use country of origin labeling as an excuse to get the animal id system done and made mandatory
    whiting, iowa

  • At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    we sure as hell don't need animal id to have contry of origin, farmers and ranchers know where their livestock were born and raised, why should the packers get their damn animal id system to gather information they can get for the asking. The last thing the packers want is to label all the beef and pork

  • At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    john, i called and left a message with Knight's secretary, Dougherty, Iowa

  • At 11:13 AM, Anonymous lisa said…

    yes, as mentioned in the 10:48 comment, I'm concerned mandatory COOL will provide a whole new excuse to "need" animal ID.
    I may be jumping to the wrong conclusions, but if the packers and others mentioned here are the ones who have kept country of origin on the back-burner for so long, they'll not be anxious to see it implemented now either unless there's some sort of consolation in it for them. I fear NAIS may be just such a prize. And I'm not fooled for a minute into thinking USDA has given up on wanting to make NAIS mandatory. It's but a slumbering giant at the moment.

  • At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    why the hell should the packers always get there way? who cares what they want and don't want, COOL is about farmers, not about packers

  • At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    COOL would good for producers, NAIS would be bad
    but fear of something like NAIS should not keep us from asking Congress and USDA for what we want and need

  • At 1:40 PM, Anonymous lisa said…

    You are absolutely right!
    I'm just saying we need to keep our eyes open here to what could potentially happen.
    But definitely, we need to ask, demand, stand up and stand together on these (and other) issues that are vital to rural americans.

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