Without a doubt, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) has been a hot topic of debate amongst cattle producer groups, processors and retailers. In a matter of minutes, COOL became the “it” word at most beef industry meetings, and after much heated discussion, mandatory COOL became effective into law on Sept. 30, 2008. This means commodities, such as whole muscle cuts and ground beef, covered under COOL must be labeled at retail to indicate their country of origin. However, they are excluded from mandatory COOL if they are an ingredient in a processed food item.
 Despite the industry’s best intentions to earn a premium in the market place for United States labeled beef products, Don Stewart, Secretary of Agriculture appointee to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and owner of Stewart-Milling, Inc., disagrees with the law and expressed his views to the producers in attendance at the 2009 Annual South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association’s Trade Show and Convention.
After his speech, I was one of the many media attendees to interview Stewart, and I hope his words will provoke an interesting debate on this blog forum. Listen to Stewart below, and please leave your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for your participation.
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BEEF Daily Quick Fact: The cattle ranch was introduced from Latin America to Texas and the plains of the United States and Canada. The first ranchers owned cattle, ponies, and camp equipment but no land, grazing their stock on the free public range. (Source: Yahoo Education - Ranch )