MCOOL is back: Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling legislation to be introduced next week
By Carrie Stadheim, Tri-State Livestock News (SD)
Sep 10, 2021
Senators from South Dakota say they have teamed up with a Montana colleague as a well as an unlikely ally, vegan Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J) to draft Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef legislation to be introduced next week.
Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) says in an official statement that the legislation would require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to develop a World Trade Organization-compliant means of reinstating MCOOL for beef within one year of enactment. USTR would have six months to develop a reinstatement plan followed by a six-month window to implement it. If USTR fails to reinstate MCOOL for beef within one year of enactment, it would automatically be reinstated for beef only.
R-CALF USA COOL Committee Chair Mike Schultz said he believes MCOOL would restore $20 billion in lost revenue to the cattle industry per year.
He said that USDA figures showed that the U.S. cattle industry took in about $82 billion in 2014 when the cattle market was strong and when MCOOL was being enforced. He said last year, the cattle industry earned about $62 billion. “Those 20 billion dollars per year that we’ve given up is now in the hands of the four meatpackers. It’s not in the hands of rural America. If we bring that money back to producers and rural communities, those people can survive,” he said.
Schultz doesn’t believe MCOOL will make beef more expensive for the American consumer.
Montana Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President Jay Bodner said his organization supports the idea of labeling beef born, raised and processed in the U.S. He looks forward to seeing the language of the legislation to determine where his organization will stand...