The joint Western Growers and PMA task force has been meeting weekly since early April on developing supplier and retailer best practices for country of origin labeling, Means said.
“Our hope is that these can be used within the supply chain to comply with COOL rules,” she said.
Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, said the task force has about 20 members of buyers and suppliers looking for a total supply chain solution.
He noted that over the last three or four months, suppliers have been receiving sporadic outreach from buyers about country of origin requirements. He said the goal of the task force is an industry solution of what is needed to comply with country of origin labeling and a document to share with the government about outlining the practical, effective and economical approach to compliance.
Meanwhile, she said, by July, the USDA should release revised rules on country-of-origin labeling, reflecting the revised language in the new farm bill.
While a period of “education” about the law is likely when the law takes effect, Means said there is no guarantee there will be a phase-in period of no enforcement.