(Feb. 15) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Language in the country-of-origin labeling legislation scheduled to take effect in September still has not been finalized.

Bruce Summers said Feb. 7 during the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee meeting that the agency is waiting for a the farm bill to be finalized.

Summers, who recently shifted from chief of the USDA’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act branch to assistant deputy administrator of fruit and vegetable programs, said the USDA could make a final rule with comments already submitted or make an interim final rule and seek additional comments.

“With a September deadline, we’ll have to move fast,” he said.

The 2002 farm bill mandated country-of-origin labeling for produce sold at retail stores by October 2004, but COOL has been delayed several times.