Lawmakers to introduce mandatory COOL legislation


By Erica Shaffer, Meat+Poultry



WASHINGTON – Four US Senators announced legislation regarding the American Beef Labeling Act which mandates the reinstatement of beef and beef products into the existing Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) law and allows for a 12-month development and implementation grace period.


Senators John Thune (R-SD), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) jointly announced the bill.


The development and implementation period is designated for the US Trade Representative and the Secretary of Agriculture to determine a means of reinstating MCOOL for beef that complies with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Congress repealed the US country of origin labeling (COOL) law in 2015 after a series of rulings by the WTO against the law. The WTO authorized Canada and Mexico to impose retaliatory tariffs of almost $1 billion against US products.


“Transparency in labeling benefits both producers and consumers,” Thune said. “Unfortunately, the current beef labeling system in this country allows imported beef that is neither born nor raised in the United States, but simply finished here, to be labeled as a product of the USA. This process is unfair to cattle producers and misleading for consumers. When you see a ‘product of the USA’ label on the grocery store shelf, it should mean just that.”


Organizations representing ranchers applauded the legislation...