The U.S. House of Representatives has offered a Farm Bill that included "compromises" on the country of origin labelling and packer ownership provisions in the current Senate bill.
According to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the House is proposing a President-appointed commission to tackle the packer ownership issue and produce a report by December 2004.
To tackle the country of origin labelling provision, the House proposes a voluntary programme for produce, meat, and fish until January 2005. After January 2005, the programme will become mandatory unless the USDA Secretary determines, after conducting several economic and trade impact studies, that making such labelling mandatory would be damaging to consumers, producers or international trade.
Two other amendments were made to the House's country of origin labelling provision. The first to the Secretary of Agriculture from implementing any mandatory country of origin labelling for livestock or meat until it is determined that the programme can be successfully implemented without a mandatory animal identification system. The other amendment would require the same traceback provisions for wild fish.