Monday, November 5, 2007

Lobby, Lobby: The Hill reports that Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) has announced that she will not introduce AgJOBS as an amendment to the farm bill. Meanwhile, it seems as though some corporations have (to the disappointment of the unions) so far successfully fought off a measure that would require companies to label the country of origin for processed foods. Sen. Brown (D-OH) may be trying to revive this measure:

The AFL-CIO argued that safety measures must keep pace with the rising imports of processed foods. The union’s letter cited reports from January and March of this year by the Food and Drug Administration that found shipments of Hershey’s Kisses, believed to be contaminated by salmonella, were refused entry at the border with Mexico.

Harkin also received a letter from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), an AFL-CIO affiliate. The union’s letter brings up a June 2007 Consumers Union poll in which 92 percent of Americans said they wanted to know where their food was produced.

U.S. food manufacturers have continued to shift operations to low-wage countries, the union said.

“Thousands of BCTGM members are losing their jobs as a result of this shift in production,” reads the letter.

Both letters asked Harkin to fold a bill by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) into farm policy that requires origin labeling for processed foods. But Brown’s language did not make into the bill, according to Gibson.

The Ohio Democrat is not expected to offer it as an amendment to the farm bill either, according to one of his aides.

Gibson hopes to build a coalition of consumer advocacy groups and family farm organizations to push for Brown’s bill once the Senate finishes with farm legislation.