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Congress Members Ask USDA to Drop COOL if WTO Disapproves

WTO said to have finished report

If the World Trade Organization (WTO) sides with Canada and Mexico in their complaint that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws in the U.S. put their meat exports at an unfair disadvantage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture should rescind those laws and allow Congress to resolve the issue, said 112 members of Congress in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The letter was written by Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), ranking member and chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, respectively. Another 110 of their colleagues also signed on.

“If the WTO finds the COOL rule to be non-compliant, the resulting consequences could have a detrimental impact on our economy,” said Costa in a statement. “Congress must be prepared to act and find a solution that maintains a healthy relationship with our trading partners and protects the American economy.”

COOL laws mandate that meat products be labeled to tell where the food animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The members’ letter comes on the heels of Tuesday’s D.C. Circuit Court decision to uphold the COOL rule following the American Meat Institute’s appeal of an earlier legal decision supporting the rule.

The WTO has reportedly finished its most recent compliance report on COOL set to be released in September, according to the trade publication Washington Trade Daily. That new report apparently still finds a number of problems with the COOL law as it currently exists.

The WTO had previously determined the U.S. COOL law incompatible with WTO obligations in Canada and Mexico’s initial complaint. In May 2013, USDA presented an adjusted rule that the two countries also challenged on the same grounds that it put their meat exports at a competitive disadvantage.

© Food Safety News
  • Donna Radisch

    Once again the Congress Bows down to Corporations & Lobbyists. What person does not want to know where their food is coming from? Vote them Out Please

  • Oginikwe

    So much for Congress protecting our sovereign nation status. What about us? We have a right to know where our food is coming from.

  • Jane Jones

    Plain and simply-We as consumers have the right to know where all our and our animals food comes from!!! When you try to hide that simple fact then we know that we are not being protected by our government. Our USDA needs a total shake up, shake down!

  • Peg

    I really think we should be loud and clear about this.
    I am calling and emailing and telling the FDA that I demand COOL and our taxes pay for their salaries!
    I am so damn fed up with the crap, dangerous, sickening garbage that comes here and is referred to as food.

    Tyson selling Chinese chicken
    And now

    AAFCO just approved a new ingredient for pet food.
    It’s zinc……zinc is good right?
    Not when it’s the zinc sprayed on roof tiles in a Florida to prevent Algaecide growth!!!

    • Jenna

      Sounds like a plan, but you might want to call USDA, not FDA. FDA has no jurisdiction over those meat products and their labeling.
      And zinc is good.. our bodies and pets bodies need it. Why is it automatically bad if it is not only a mineral we need, but also an algaecide? Vinegar is also an algaecide.

      • Ron

        Spot on Jenna… And vinegar is probably one of the best antibacterial organics on the planet, it eliminate mole, warts, dandruff, athlete’s foot, abscessed tooth, shalI I go on? It is fantastic for you. Zinc is also good for you. Most people have no clue what is good or bad for you when it comes down to it… What is more important than where our food comes from is: is it Safe to eat. The problem is there are many activists out there shouting out what is and what isn’t and most do not have the educational background nor do they know what they are talking about. Most of the verbage out of their mouths is misguided BS… Unfortunately, it is what it is…