The American Farm Bureau Federation announced support for efforts in Congress to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), which forces food distributors to label beef, chicken and pork products as to their country of origin.
The request comes on the heels of a World Trade Organization ruling that grants Canada and Mexico the right to retaliate against the United States if it fails to stop the program by mid-November.
“While we were hopeful that WTO would have found COOL to be legal, it is now clear that we are far better off with no mandatory labeling for beef, pork and chicken, which should end threats of retaliation by our two closest trading partners,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
The House Agriculture Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), last week passed a bill to remove the language from current law. A vote by the full House could happen within days.
“We are pleased the House Agriculture Committee has moved to repeal country of origin labeling for beef, pork and chicken, and we ask the full House to do likewise,” Stallman said. “Whatever benefits labeling brought farmers and ranchers, the WTO ruled that the process of separating the herds was too cumbersome to permit free trade. Canada and Mexico could retaliate with $2 billion in tariffs against U.S. food if we don’t stop the labeling program.”