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WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 2009—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that he has appointed 13 members to the Consultative Group to Eliminate the Use of Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products, which was established by the 2008 Farm Bill.

"Child and forced labor remain significant problems in many parts of the world," said Vilsack. "The expertise and unique knowledge provided by these members will be instrumental in our efforts to reduce the use of these forms of labor in agricultural industries benefiting from these practices."

The group will develop and make recommendations to Vilsack regarding guidelines to reduce the likelihood that agricultural products imported into the United States are produced with the use of child or forced labor. The recommendations will be submitted by June 2010. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is the lead agency. No later than one year after the group’s submission of recommendations, USDA will release guidelines for a voluntary initiative to enable entities to address child and forced labor issues. The guidelines will be published in the Federal Register and available for public comment for 90 days.

The consultative group consists of both government and non-government members, including two members from USDA; one from the U.S. Department of Labor; and one from the U.S. Department of State. Non-government members include three from the agriculture-related private sector; two members from institutions of higher education and research institutions; one member to represent independent, third-party certification services for labor standards; and three members from non-profit organizations with expertise on international child labor issues. Members will serve until December 2012.

A list of members follows.

Consultative Group Government Members

Burnham John "Bud" Philbrook (Chairperson), Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Sandra Polaski, Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor

Karen Stewart, Assistant Secretary (Acting), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State

Members for the Consultative Group to Eliminate the Use of Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products

Bama Athreya, Executive Director, International Labor Rights Forum, Washington, D.C., Nongovernmental Organization (NGO)

Dorianne Beyer, Agricultural Labor Consultant, Social Accountability International, New York, N.Y., Certification Organization

Eric Edmonds, Associate Professor of Economics, Dartmouth University, Hanover, N.H., Academic/Research

Kimberly Elliott, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, Visiting Fellow, Peterson Institute, Washington, D.C., Academic/Research

Bill Guyton, President, World Cocoa Foundation, Washington, D.C., Agricultural Enterprise

Dennis Macray, Director, Ethical Sourcing and Global Responsibility, Starbucks Coffee Co.,

Seattle, Wash., Agricultural Enterprise

Edward Potter, Director, Global Workplace Rights, Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, Ga., Agricultural Enterprise

Margaret Roggensack, Policy Director, Free the Slaves, Washington, D.C., Nongovernmental Organization (NGO)

Auret Van Heerden, President and CEO, Fair Labor Association, Washington, D.C., Nongovernmental Organization (NGO)



USDA Release No. 0459.09
FAS PR 0239-09

Contact: Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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