Last week, FARFA joined with over 140 other organizations in a joint letter urging Congress to reject repealing or weakening Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef, pork and chicken.
The huge meatpackers are pushing Congress to either repeal COOL completely, or to turn it into a voluntary program, which would let the food companies and meatpackers decide whether or not to tell American consumers where their meat comes from.
The bottom line is that Congress needs to — at least — wait and see what happens when the World Trade Organization case is done. Although the WTO has ruled that the U.S. COOL violates trade agreements, the big issue remains — what are the damages? Last week, the U.S. government filed a brief with the WTO that totally debunks Canada and Mexico’s absurd claims — it said that Canada and Mexico’s claim for trade penalties was nonsense and that the reasonable damages would be about $91 million, a tiny fraction of the absurd $3 billion figure Canada and Mexico are using to bully the Congress.
Attacks on popular domestic laws like COOL are yet another reason that we have to keep fighting against trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership! We have a right to know where our food comes from, and our government should not abandon that because of trade agreements.