A group of meat and livestock organizations opposed to the current USDA Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) rule are requesting that USDA delay enforcement of the rule until the WTO rules on compliance.
In a letter sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and USTR Ambassador Mike Froman, the group said, “It is likely that the resolution of the WTO dispute will result in AMS being forced to develop yet another COOL Rule in an attempt to meet the United States' WTO treaty obligations or seek amendments to the underlying statute. Such a result would mean that the entire meat supply chain will be in the same position in just a few years - devoting time and financial resources to bring themselves into compliance with another COOL Rule.”
Those signing the letter were the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Grocers Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association, and Southwest Meat Association.
The National Farmers Union (NFU), a strong supporter of COOL, said, “NFU does not believe that any further delay is appropriate or warranted. Consumers are entitled to enhanced information that will reduce the confusion about where the food they buy is from. Similarly, many domestic producers of livestock have been seeking the ability to differentiate their product in the market by ensuring that its origin is clearly identified. We have waited too long for meaningful country of origin labeling standards. USDA should enforce the regulations as originally noticed."
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