(June 5, 3:34 p.m.) A four-page document detailing best management practices for country of origin labeling has been completed.

The document was developed by a joint task force appointed by Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers and Newark, Del-based Produce Marketing Association.

Links to the document can be found at www.wga.com and www.pma.com/issues/labeling.cfm.

A June 5 statement from both associations said the document is intended to provide a framework for supply chain partners to work together to provide country of origin labeling information to consumers, in addition to drive unnecessary costs in the implementation of labeling systems.

The document is simple and direct, said Kathy Means, vice president of government relations for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association.

“If you can put the origin on at the shipping point, do it,” she said. “Put your origin information on the master carton — we are saying just go ahead and do it,” she said.

For items like bulk green beans that can’t be labeled with Price Look-Up stickers, Means said signage at retail will be required.

“We also recommend putting origin information on the bill of lading because the new statute says no new records are required,” she said. “So we’ve got the bill of lading, let’s not make it hard — just put the origin on the bill of lading.”

Means said USDA regulations on country of origin labeling are expected in July, though Jimmie Turner, spokesman for the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, said June 5 the agency has not yet set a time frame.

When the regulations are released, Means said the task force will evaluate whether changes to the best practices document are warranted.

In addition, she noted that PMA and Western Growers on June 24 will co-host a free Webinar to provide feedback on draft country of origin best practices.