Tag Archive | "COOL"

WTO rules against U.S. COOL program


The following article appeared at Drovers Cattle Network here.

A World Trade Organization panel has issued a preliminary ruling on the case that Canada and Mexico filed against the U.S. country-of-origin-labeling law, charging that the mandatory rule violates WTO trade standards.

Specifically, the WTO ruling upholds that requirements tied to U.S. mandatory COOL violate provisions of WTO’s agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade or TBT. The WTO panel also ruled that the mandatory COOL requirements to not meet the United States’ stated objective that the labeling law informs and helps U.S. consumers make purchasing decisions regarding the origin of meat, produce and other products covered by the labeling law.

COOL started out as a voluntary labeling program in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002—also known as the 2002 Farm Bill. It had specified that COOL would include pork, beef, lamb, fish, perishable agricultural products and peanuts, and that it would become a mandatory requirement by Sept. 30, 2004.

However, opposition mounted by numerous agricultural groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council, as well as from packers, processors and retailers. COOL opponents’ argued that the program costs would far outweigh the benefits, which were not well determined, and that the marketplace and consumers should drive the need for such programs. Also, the consensus was that the effort driving COOL smacked of protectionism.

The mandatory version of COOL went into effect on March 19, 2009. Six months later, Canada filed a complaint with WTO, and Mexico quickly followed suit. The two countries’ trade officials argued that U.S. mandatory COOL amounted to an illegal, non-tariff trade barrier, and treated U.S. products more favorably than those from Canada and Mexico.

The WTO’s preliminary ruling was actually issued May 20, and there will now be a 30-days comment period. WTO officials have indicated that a final, public ruling will likely come sometime in September. The U.S. government will have two months to decide whether to appeal the WTO’s decision. As NPPC officials point out, such WTO decisions are typically appealed.

Long term, if the WTO ruling stands, the United States will have to dissolve mandatory COOL or risk trade retaliations from Mexico and Canada, both of which are major U.S. trading partners.

Posted in Food and AgComments (3)

Canadian Pork Producers Fight for Open Border


The following article from the Canadian Pork Council appeared at Ellinghuysen.com here.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND–(Marketwire – Dec. 2, 2010) – The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel examining Canadian and Mexican complaints against U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) requirements as they affect exports of hogs and cattle wrapped up its second series of meetings today.

Canada complained that the inflexible and protectionist nature of the U.S. Rules compounded by interference in implementation has seriously impacted Canadian exports of feeder and slaughter hogs to the direct benefit of U.S. competitors.

Canadian hogs producers were represented by Martin Rice, Executive Director of the Canadian Pork Council; Andrew Dickson, General Manager of Manitoba Pork; and Patrick O’Neil, Ontario Pork’s Trade Strategist. They were supported by CPC International Trade Counsel, Peter Clark.

“Unfortunately, actions taken in both the United States Congress and the administration eliminated the flexibility in the final rule that would have made it less protectionist” Mr. Rice explained.

Mr. Dickson noted “on balance, the third country intervenors supported the proposition that COOL was not WTO consistent.” He explained, “Live exports are essential to the health of the Canadian hog industry. For Manitoba, they are essential. I am encouraged by the Canadian team’s performance. We expect a speedy favourable finding and that we can get the border back to normal soon.”

Mr. O’Neil was pleased with the week and the strong performance of the Canadian government team. “We wanted to make a contribution and we were able to,” he explained. “This was a very facts-based case and it has been a very satisfying experience developing the facts base with the Government lawyers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada experts to develop a comprehensive and persuasive case.”

Peter Clark explained, “The formal meetings are over – and Canada’s summation was concise but complete and compelling. The government/industry team now needs to answer numerous very detailed and very difficult questions from the panel.”

“We should have a decision by summer,” he noted. “This dispute has broad implications – the E.U. is developing a new very extensive regime. It could seriously erode market access benefits under CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). If the panel does not clearly condemn the protectionist abuses of the U.S. COOL measures, Country of Origin Labelling could become one of the new non-tariff measures of choice.”

“The Canadian Pork Council and its members, together with the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, have been struggling with COOL since its inception in the 2002 Farm Bill”, said Jurgen Preugschas, CPC President, “and we are pleased to see signs of real progress in having our concerns recognized and addressed.”

For more information, please contact
Canadian Pork Council
Gary Stordy
Public Relations Manger
613-236-9239 Ext. 277
Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, Limited
Peter Clark

Posted in Food and AgComments Off

Country of origin labeling talks: US and Canada


The Canadians and the U.S. multinational meatpackers are continuing their WTO complaint in an attempt to kill the U.S. law requiring meat, seafood and produce to bear a label stating the country of origin.  The American Meat Institute is made up of packers ostensibly from the U.S.  They make outrageous claims of dire industry harm that has occurred because consumers know where their beef and pork comes from now.

Horrible harm.  Devastating harm.  To his credit, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is not buying these claims.

Posted in Food and AgComments (2)

The onus is on Vilsack for COOL


This letter from Senators Johnson and Enzi to USDA Secretary Vilsack
argues for changing the country of origin labeling (COOL) rules to clearly
identify U.S. produce meat, fruits, vegetables and seafood.  The prior administration allows meat to be labeled "Product of the U.S., Canada and Mexico" rather than specifying the particular country of origin.  Hardly helpful to consumers.

Also, the prior administration allowed a broad exemption for processed meat products to fall outside the rule.  Vilsack is a COOL supporter, so we’ll see what happens.

Posted in Food and AgComments Off

USDA Secretary on country of origin labeling


This is a good sign.  USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack endorsing country of origin labeling of meat, fruits, vegetables and seafood.  The prior USDA bastardized the rules so multiple countries could be listed.  

The USDA hasn’t yet indicated what, if any, changes it would make to the Bush administration rule for implementation of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL), but Vilsack said "I want to state very clearly that I strongly support COOL."

Posted in Food and AgComments Off

Canadians can be hypocrits too


The USDA is being forced to implement country of origin labeling for meat, fruits, vegetables and seafood.  USDA balked for years, except on seafood where the support from Thad Cochran and Ted Stevens cleared the way in mid-decade.

Canada has been having a fit, because they send a lot of pork and beef to the U.S.  They don’t want U.S. born and raised labels on meat for sale here.

But they have their own "Canadian Pork" label program to promote domestic pork to Canadian consumer.  At the same time, they threaten the U.S. with NAFTA litigation.

The USDA could just say "go away" when Canada complains, but
instead, the USDA says meat packers can label meat as "Product of the
U.S., Mexico and Canada" when the meat from a day’s processing
operation came from all three countries.

This is free trade folks.  Good stuff.  For comedy.  If it was not so serious.


Posted in Food and AgComments Off

Country of origin labeling bastardized


Imported product quality, and the rules determining where a product comes from for trade agreement purposes are major issues.  Substandard food and pet food especially catch the public’s attention.  If you ingest something, you want it to be safe.

Country of origin labeling for meat, fruits, vegetables and seafood has been a contentious issue.  The multinational food processors want to procure "anywhere meat" and confuse people into believing it is USA-raised because a USDA seal of approval is affixed.  But that seal of approval is applied to meat from anywhere.

The 2002 Farm Bill mandated labeling as to country of origin, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture fought it, never implementing it.  The 2008 Farm Bill beat back the USDA objections, but the USDA bowed to industry anyway.

Can you believe this?  The final COOL rule allows meatpackers to use the mixed-origin label ("product of the U.S., Canada and Mexico") on all meat products produced during each production day, provided only that the meatpacker commingles any amount of foreign meat product during that day’s production.

Obama has put a hold on all pending regulations, including USDA’s final COOL rule.  Perhaps that will provide a chance to straighten it out.  

A summary of the issue from R-CALF USA is below the fold.  An article on the current status is here.

Country of Origin Labeling
January 20, 2009


    Congress passed in 2002, and subsequently amended in 2008, the mandatory country-of-labeling law (COOL).  COOL requires retailers to label beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat meat, wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish, perishable agricultural commodities (fruits and vegetables), peanuts, pecans, ginseng, and macadamia nuts with country-of-origin information when sold at retail food establishments (i.e., grocery stores), but not when sold at food service establishments (i.e., restaurants).

    COOL went into effect for wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish in 2005, but continued political pressure, particularly from the meatpacking industry, caused an extended implementation delay for all other commodities.  Pursuant to a U.S. Department of Agriculture interim final rule, COOL went into effect for the remaining commodities on Sept. 30, 2008.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule for COOL on Jan. 15, 2009, with an effective date of March 16, 2009. 

    Under COOL, Congress reserved the USA label only for non-meat products that were exclusively produced in the United States.  For meat products, Congress reserved the USA label only for meat from animals exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States.  Congress established a mixed-origin label for meat from animals that were born or raised in a foreign country and then slaughtered in the United States, e.g., “Product of Canada and the U.S.”

    Since the initial September 2008 implementation of COOL for the remaining commodities, major U.S. meatpackers defied Congress’ intent to reserve the USA label for meat exclusively from U.S. animals by applying only a mixed-origin label (e.g., “Product of the United States, Canada, and Mexico”) on virtually all meat products, even meat products from animals exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States.

    The final COOL rule contains language that authorizes meatpackers to continue their practice of mislabeling USA meat products with a mixed-origin label, thus subverting Congress’ intent to inform consumers of the true origins of the meat they purchase for their families.  The final COOL rule allows meatpackers to use the mixed-origin label on all meat products produced during each production day, provided only that the meatpacker commingles any amount of foreign meat product during that day’s production.

    For non-meat products, the final COOL rule severely limits the volume of products subject to the COOL law by exempting otherwise covered commodities if they undergo even minor processing such as cooking, curing, smoking, breading or adding tomato sauce.  As a result, consumers will remain uninformed as to the country-of-origin of many products that Congress intended to be included under COOL.

    The following revisions are needed to the final COOL rule to ensure that consumers are provided accurate and informative information as to the origins of their food:

•    Meat packers must be prohibited from labeling meat derived from animals exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S. with a mixed-origin label.  

•    Meat packers must be authorized to visually inspect each animal that is being slaughtered for the presence or absence of foreign import markings, and declare animals lacking any foreign import marking as exclusively originating in the United States. 

•    Meat from animals imported for immediate slaughter must be labeled with the name of the foreign country appearing first on the label followed by the name of the United States, e.g., “Product of Canada and the U.S.”

•    Commodities with different origins sold in bulk containers, such as a full-service meat counter, must be segregated or individually labeled as to their respective country-of-origin so consumers can choose to purchase commodities from the country of their choice.

•    Commodities covered by COOL must be subject to labeling requirements even if they undergo minor processing such as cooking, smoking, curing, breading or adding tomato sauce.

•    Meat processors must be prohibited from including the name of a country on a ground meat label if the processor discontinued sourcing that product from the foreign country for more than one week.

Posted in Food and AgComments (1)

Chilean salmen – yuck


This is why we need country of origin labeling

Posted in Food and AgComments Off

Canada labels meat, but fights U.S. labels


If you go into a Canadian supermarket, every package of beef and pork is labeled as to country of origin.  But they they are fighting the U.S. attempt to implement country of origin labeling.   

say it violates the WTO and NAFTA.  Isn’t Canada a signatory to
those treaties/agreements?  And they label their product? 
Does anyone outside the meat packers’ pocket take them seriously?

Posted in Food and AgComments Off

Most Americans check food labels for country of origin


Sacred Heart University Polling Institute conducted a survey on food and COOL.  The results are not surprising.

*  Nearly
69 percent of the 1,000 Americans polled indicated they check labels
for nation of origin, up from 53 percent a year ago, the institute said.
*  86 percent agreed with a statement calling for suspension of
Chinese imports until China meets U.S. product and food-safety
*  87 percent indicated they have confidence in American-made and distributed products and food.
*  Fewer than half of Americans surveyed (47 percent) agreed that
the United States is doing a good job ensuring imports meet set safety
and quality standards.

Sherrod Brown intends to introduce a bill, this fall, that all food should have country of origin labels.

Posted in Food and AgComments Off

Page 1 of 3123

Sovereignty at Risk with Globalist Agreements

Tea Party organizations and members can show their opposition to trade and global government agreements by taking action now!

* Organizations can sign this letter asking GOP congressmen to deny Fast Track to Obama.

* Tea Party members can email their legislator to stop Obama's unconstitutional Fast Track Scheme.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Imports

Sign up to receive periodic updates