Published: December 2014

Keep cool on COOL

Advocates from over 200 farm, faith, environmental, labor, rural and consumer organizations delivered a letter to the Senate urging the legislators to reject any effort to repeal, rescind or weaken Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in any federal spending legislation. Advocates argue COOL has been embraced by consumers who want to know where their food comes from and by family farmers who are proud to provide that information.

Congress enacted Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in both the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills and chose to expand COOL coverage to additional products such as venison in the 2014 Farm Bill. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has been considering a dispute over COOL since 2008. At each stage of the WTO dispute, the trade body has been increasingly receptive to the legitimacy of the COOL labels. In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, advocates urged legislators to reject efforts to weaken the policy, especially during federal appropriations budget deliberations.

“U.S. consumers overwhelmingly support country of origin labeling,” said Chris Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America. “In fact, they want even more information about the source of their meat including where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Congress should not deny consumers this important information.”

Since the new COOL rule was passed, it has been challenged in federal court by a coalition of meat industry groups, including the American Meat Institute and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The governments of Canada and Mexico are arguing before the World Trade Organization that the rule is not fair to them. There is also discussion that the law might violate trade laws.

“Congress should not unconditionally surrender to the special interest saber-rattling on COOL,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Congress should not short circuit the WTO process at the behest of the meatpackers and their special interest allies.”

 

Lead Organization

Consumer Federation of America (CFA)

Other Organizations

Agricultural Missions, Inc. (NY) | American Agriculture Movement | California Farmers Union | Center for Food Safety | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Consumers Union | National Farmers Organization | National Farmers Union | WhyHunger (please see letter for full list of organizations)

More Information

For more information, please visit CFA's website.

Download PDF

Keep cool on COOL   (COOL-Final.pdf)

 
 

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