Thursday at the Montana Legislature House Bill 350 will be heard before the House Ag Committee. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Frank Smith, asks retailers to make a reasonable effort to display a sign at the meat case with transparent country-of-origin information for beef and pork.
In a recent opinion editorial, Representative Smith wrote, “Consumers have the right to know the origin of the beef on their tables, and ranchers have the right to a fair and competitive market. This is a reasonable expectation. However, after 2015, beef and pork were exempted from country of origin labeling laws. As a result, consumers do not know where their beef comes from, and ranchers do not have fair prices.”
Smith continued, “This is why the Montana Farmers Union, Montana Cattlemen’s Association, other Montana COOL advocates, and l are asking that the Montana Legislature pass a Montana Country of Origin Labeling law as set out in HB 350. It is true, that to be fully effective, COOL needs re-instatement on the national level, but you have to start somewhere. If Montana, whose largest industry is cattle, cannot stand up for consumers and ranchers, who will?”
The House Agriculture Committee hearing will begin at 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 2nd. To see the language of HB 350, click here.