As a consumer, I want to know what I’m eating. So when I go to the grocery store, I would like to know about the steak I buy and that it’s safe to eat. Apparently, I’m not alone.
That’s why consumer groups and farmers fought to make it mandatory that fresh beef, pork, and lamb (and now fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables) to be marked with Country of Origin Labels (COOL).
But the law met opposition from the World Trade Organization (WTO) stating that these labels are in violation of international trade rules. Mexico and Canada objected to COOL labels that impose regulatory costs on livestock and meat being exported to the U.S. causing an unfair disadvantage that out-weighs benefits to the consumer.
“Consumers deserve clear, transparent and informative COOL labels and the WTO has no place meddling in American grocery carts,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “President Obama campaigned to protect country of origin labels in 2008 and he can do so again by implementing these straightforward improvements to COOL rules.”
“The logical way to respond is to defend the integrity of the country of origin labels by simplifying the information provided on the labels and making them clearer for consumers,” said Hauter. “The new legal memo demonstrates a reasonable next step for USDA that makes labeling more meaningful to them.” (read full story here)
May 23 Deadline
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has received support to help make changes to the ruling and put the US in compliance with WTO.
If you want to know where your meat is coming from, where it is raised, and processed, then hope for a smooth agreement and Country-of-Origin Labeling.