In this file:
· Senators introduce mandatory COOL resolution
· R-CALF says Senate resolution on MCOOL not a positive step
Senators introduce mandatory COOL resolution
Tester and Rounds seek support for including country-of-origin labeling in must-pass COVID-19 legislation.
Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs
May 14, 2020
U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) and Mike Rounds (R., S.D.), along with a bipartisan group of their colleagues, introduced a resolution May 13 to support mandatory country-of-origin labeling (mCOOL) for beef products in the U.S. in an effort to provide critical support to American cattle producers hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution, co-sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R., Mont.), John Thune (R., S.D.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.), urges the U.S. to enter into necessary trade negotiations to allow mCOOL to be re-implemented in a manner that is compliant with World Trade Organization regulations. Re-implementing mCOOL would bring back laws and regulations repealed in 2015 that required retailers to inform customers which country beef commodities originated in, providing more transparency to American shoppers and giving American producers a competitive edge.
Tester said, “It’s no secret that Montana ranchers raise the finest beef in the world, but American consumers have no way of knowing if the steak they’re getting at the supermarket comes from Absarokee or Australia. It’s clear that Americans want to buy American-made products if they have the option, and country-of-origin labeling gives Montana producers the upper hand by showing that their cattle were raised within our borders, not halfway around the world.”
Rounds noted that mCOOL for beef products "fits within our discussions on how to improve food security, transparency for consumers and supply chain issues, all of which have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening both producers and consumers. This is not only misleading to consumers when they purchase meat at the grocery store, [but] it puts our producers at a competitive disadvantage when marketing their products.”
He added that this resolution is the broadest and strongest bipartisan support seen for mCOOL since it was eliminated in 2015, and it begins the critical and necessary discussion on food security in America. “This is a win-win for producers and consumers. MCOOL proponents – including those who represent consumers and cattle producers – who are sincerely interested in moving the ball forward on mCOOL should get behind our legislation and help force the issue.
“Our goal should be to gain support and include it in must-pass COVID-19 legislation, both of which will encourage the President’s action,” Rounds said.
COOL regulations are currently in effect for several products, including chicken, lamb, goat, farm-raised and wild-caught fish and shellfish and most nuts. In 2015, however, Congress repealed the law requiring the origin labels for beef, reducing the competitive advantage for American-made beef products. The senators said that decision has been blamed for tumbling prices and forcing American producers to compete with foreign meat.
Tester and Rounds have been outspoken critics of importing beef from Brazil after reports surfaced in 2017 that the country was exporting rotten beef and attempting to cover it up with cancer-causing acid products. The senators and a bipartisan group of 12 colleagues sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture re-evaluate the decision to lift the ban on Brazilian beef imports implemented in 2017.
R-CALF USA, an industry group that has long advocated for mCOOL, said the resolution falls short of what the industry needs...
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R-CALF says Senate resolution on MCOOL not a positive step
By Julie Harker, Brownfield
May 14, 2020
The head of RCALF USA says the reintroduction of a resolution by several U.S. Senators for Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef is not a positive step. Bill Bullard tells Brownfield Ag News, “It’s an effort to placate the industry through inaction because it was Congress who repealed Country of Origin Labeling and it is not the U.S. Trade Ambassador or the U.S. Department of Agriculture that can bring it back.”
Bullard says the only way to bring mandatory COOL back without Congress was through the updating of NAFTA into the new USMCA agreement, “And now they’re trying to give the appearance that they’re helping producers when in actuality they’re doing nothing but distracting attention away from the need to implement a comprehensive Country of Origin Labeling bill.”
Bullard’s group is asking Congress and President Trump to...
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