National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Jon Caspers testified the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law of the 2002 farm bill offers little value to U.S. producers or consumers, and potentially limits long-term economic health and growth of the pork industry.

“It is not a food safety law, as some proponents would have us believe, but rather a trade protectionist law designed to restrict access to U.S. retail meat cases.

“As the law is currently written, it enables consumers to determine the country-of-origin for fresh pork sold only through retail meat cases – not for pork that is either sold by foodservice establishments or further processed. If the law is truly intended to ensure the safety of the food supply, then why exempt over 50% of the pork consumed in the U.S. today? Why do consumers have the right to know where their pork chops are from, but not their ham or bacon?” questions Caspers in a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee. He urged committee members to repeal the mandatory provision of COOL and replace it with a voluntary program for hogs and pork.

Caspers went on to say that there is no credible evidence consumers are willing to pay more for COOL pork. Not one supplier has reported interest from buyers for such labeling.