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COOL Defense Coalition: Legislative Interference on COOL Unwarranted

31 October 2013

US - National Farmers Union (NFU), the US Cattlemen’s Association, American Sheep Industry Association and Consumer Federation of America sent a letter to the 2013 Farm Bill conference committee members expressing continued strong support for Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) and opposition to any legislative changes to the law.

“Once again packer-producer organizations and their foreign counterparts that do not have the interest of US family farmers and ranchers in mind have called for legislative interference on COOL,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Based on recent World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings, there is no reason for Congress to take action on COOL.”

A WTO panel affirmed the right of the United States to require COOL for meat products, but said that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had to adjust some provisions in order to be fully compliant with WTO requirements. USDA followed a carefully considered, open and transparent process as it crafted changes to the rule which provides consumers with additional information on where each of the production steps for cattle - born, raised and slaughtered - occurs. The final rule complies with the WTO ruling and is consistent with US law.

“The agribusiness and packer-producer groups are merely trying to scare members of Congress into changing the law to benefit their bottom lines,” said the letter.

“We strongly oppose such action. COOL is a top priority for our organizations. Any effort to change it in the farm bill would affect our groups’ support of that legislation.”

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