Cattlemen Want Country-of-Origin Labeling Back

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Sep 14, 2018

A perennial advocate of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for American meat is raising funds and pushing once more for reinstatement of the provision.

The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF USA) announced Sept. 10 that it has raised $50,000 to bring back COOL, which would mandate that all meat and poultry sold in the United States be labeled with its country of origin. A spokesperson for R-CALF estimates that when COOL was in effect from 2013 to 2016, it led to American farmers and ranchers receiving $325 more per calf.

“Americans cannot choose to buy American beef unless the mandatory COOL law is restored,” said Mike Schultz, a Kansas cow/calf operator and Chair of the R-CALF USA COOL Committee.

COOL was repealed by Congress in 2015 after failed appeals to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the threat of retaliatory sanctions by Canada and Mexico. R-CALF USA and others sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get the regulation reinstated, but a federal court dismissed the lawsuit last summer.

COOL advocates are hoping that President Trump will take up the issue as part of his drive to protect American businesses against foreign competition. However, the measure is opposed by processors and others who fear it will drive up meat prices.