Collins Expresses Concern Over USDA Decision to Waive Country of Origin Labeling, Import Citrus from China

Apr 20, 2020
Press Release

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expressing his concern over the recent decisions to temporarily waive Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) enforcement and to authorize the importation of fresh citrus from China.

Last week, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced it would temporarily waive COOL requirements, allowing retail establishments to sell food that lacks country of origin or method of production labeling. 

“While I understand this waiver is intended to provide flexibility for distributors, I’m concerned this announcement may harm demand for American products,” said Collins. “As you know, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the U.S. commodities markets. Many growers across the state of Georgia are faced with crippling demand shortages at a critical time when their crops are ready to be harvested.”

Collins also expressed concern with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s recent decision to authorize the importation of fresh citrus from China in light of recent revelations that the Chinese Communist Party attempted to coverup the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“While I understand that these regulations have been in progress for some time in connection with foreign trade agreements, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all firsthand that we cannot trust the word of the Chinese government,” Collins wrote. “This approval specifically relies on the Chinese government to enforce protocols for eliminating the risk that imported Chinese citrus could carry plant pests and other quarantined species. As China’s early coverup of the COVID-19 outbreak and their continued lies about its origin have proven, the Chinese government cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of public health.”

Full text of the letter can be found here