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Version of COOL Resurfaces in Congress


Following a White House proposed rule allowing the voluntary label of “Product of USA” claim for meat, poultry, and egg products, Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) have introduced a bill to allow for U.S. origin labeling.  Currently the “Product of USA” label can be applied if beef was processed in the U.S.  In contrast, the proposed U.S. label would only be applicable to beef, pork and poultry were “exclusively born, raised, slaughtered and packaged in the United States”.  Previously Country of Origin labeling (COOL) was ruled illegal in terms of WTO regulations resulting in the U.S. paying penalties.


The proposed U.S. Origin rule has generated bipartisan support in Congress and predictably from organizations including R-Calf, U.S. Cattleman’s Association, and the Farm Action Fund. 


Trading partners Canada and Mexico have expressed their discontent with the White House voluntary proposal and will obviously react negatively to passage of the Hageman/Khanna Bill. 


As with all “feel-good” legislation, there may well be unintended consequences in terms of disruption in trade, litigation, retribution by trading partners and loss of jobs.