The US House of Representatives has voted to repeal a law that would require pork and beef sold in US grocery stores to carry a country-of-origin label.

The House took the side of US grocers and meat packers who said adding the information to labels from 30 September 2004 would be too complicated and costly and would therefore raise food prices, reported Reuters.

The repeal may face opposition in the Senate, which initiated the original labelling law. Supporters of the meat labels said the information is important to consumers and to family farmers.

"Currently you can buy clothes, you can buy electronics, you can buy toys that label where they come from ... but you don't know where your meat is necessarily coming from," Rep. Dennis Rehberg, a rancher and Montana Republican who led an unsuccessful effort to keep the law in place, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The two biggest farm groups in the US, the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union, both support meat labels as a way for farmers to promote products of US origin.

The repeal will not affect other country-of-origin labels, such as those that will be required next year for produce, seafood and peanuts.