The National Farmers Union (NFU) is encouraging lawmakers to ignore some of the scare tactics of groups trying to derail Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), while the group also wants federal officials to appeal a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling.
“This letter was organized by groups who have opposed COOL from day one and demonstrates that they understand they have lost the battle over this issue in the public arena,” said Johnson. “We urge Congress to ignore the overblown rhetoric of the letter and stay the course on COOL,” [National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson] said.
The letter comes on the heels of a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the implementation of the law remains unbalanced between consumer information and production costs and will need further changes. “The WTO has already ruled that the COOL law is compliant and this ruling shows that USDA’s current rule is one more step in the right direction, but may not have gone far enough in providing sufficient information to consumers,” he said. Johnson noted that talk of retaliation is premature and the WTO process required to even consider such actions would likely be a year from concluding. “There is simply no rush to take rash action,” he said.
Importantly, “the list of letter-signers included many commodity groups but it did not include the two largest general farm groups,” noted the Hagstrom Report yesterday.
Johnson said COOL is popular with American consumers, who “have been crystal clear that they want to know where their food comes from,” as well as farmers and ranchers who are proud to provide the information.