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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is disappointed with a joint Senate-House conference committee's decision to delay implementation of country-of-origin food labeling (COOL).

The conference committee for the fiscal year 2004 Omnibus Appropriations package delayed the mandatory COOL law for all products except farm-raised fish and wild fish until Sept. 30, 2006. The Agriculture Appropriations bill and other unfinished bills are part of the Omnibus. The Omnibus includes funding for the operation of federal government agencies, departments and programs. A final vote has not been taken on the Omnibus; that could come next month, or next year.

Enzi said the conference committee's decision ignores the actions of both the Senate and House regarding COOL.

Enzi and Senate colleagues successfully offered an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill earlier this month that directed Senate conference committee members to maintain funding for the implementation of the COOL law. The House voted in July to retain a provision in its version of the bill that would prohibit the use of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds for the implementation of the law for meat and meat products for one year.

Enzi's comments follow.

"This conference committee has ignored what both the Senate and House voted on with regard to COOL and I am very disappointed by their actions.

"A small group of people has clearly gone against the Senate's position to maintain funding for COOL and gone beyond what the House did to delay funding for a year.

"Country-of-origin food labeling is important in maintaining fairness for Wyoming's and the nation's producers and I will continue to work to find a way to get this important law implemented as intended."