R-CALF USA, which represents the U.S. cattle industry in trade, marketing and private property rights issues, is pointing to a recent case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) — or, as it is commonly called, “mad cow disease” — in a Canadian cow as a reason to maintain country-of-origin labeling (COOL). MeatLabelingMainThe World Trade Organization (WTO) has sided with Canada and Mexico in disputes with the U.S. that COOL for meat is an unfair trade barrier. Processing the U.S. appeal of the decision is what’s currently keeping the other countries from imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. Moves by South Korea, Taiwan, Peru, Belarus and Indonesia to restrict imports of beef from Canada “demonstrate that consumers the world over not only have an interest in knowing the country of origin of the beef they purchase; but also, they make purchasing decisions based on country of origin information,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. The organization, which has long defended COOL, argues that the Canadian BSE case supports labeling as a food safety issue and a benefit to consumers. The U.S. has not restricted Canadian beef imports, but Bullard said that if consumers want to avoid it, “they can do so today by looking for the country of origin label on their meat purchases.”