Raising of Animals Focus of Two Events

Animal raising labels in Washington; Proposition 2 on Oprah.

On Tuesday two meetings will be held that may have a big impact on animal agriculture. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is holding a meeting to discuss animal raising claims on food labels and the possibility of a new review process for those claims. Also Tuesday representatives of both sides of California's Proposition 2 ballot initiative that would ban livestock stalls and cages that limit movement will appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Phil Durfler of FSIS says the public meeting being held in Washington is to obtain comments on what the best approach for FSIS to take to make sure animal raising claims on food labels are correct.

"Claims on the label about how animals are raised are not really new, they've been on the label for awhile," Durfler says. "But as a result of some of our experiences lately, we've raised questions as to the circumstances under which we should review and approve those claims. It's very important to us that we make sure the claims are truthful and not misleading to consumers."

Comments on possible revisions to FSIS review of claims are being accepted until Nov. 14. They can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov.

Meanwhile Proposition 2 is being closely watched by many sectors of agriculture as the vote in California could have significant ramifications to livestock growers across the country. Many current livestock practices would be banned if the initiative passes.

Tuesday on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Illinois pork producers John and Matt Kellogg and Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle will appear to discuss both sides of Proposition 2. The large national audience of the program could have implications on the public's perceptions of the issue.

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