The National Farmers Union (NFU) expressed its disappointment with the final mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) rule and indicated it may seek Congressional modifications.
NFU said, “Despite the strong support from Congress, and demands from consumers and producers alike, USDA has chosen to implement COOL in a manner that does not meet Congress’ clear intent, leaving loopholes in place for those willing to circumvent the law. The final rule still contains a loophole that would allow meatpackers to use a multiple countries, or NAFTA label, rather than labeling U.S. products as products of the U.S. This is misleading to consumers. The intent was to provide country of origin labeling, not trade agreement origin of labeling. If a product is exclusively born, raised and processed in the United States it should be labeled as such. USDA takes great liberty with the definition of ‘processed products,’ effectively leaving several food products without labels and denying consumers the knowledge of their food’s country of origin.”
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said, “Despite the flexibility provided in the implementing regulation, the mandatory COOL law has been estimated to cost the livestock industry $2.5 billion initially and nearly $212 million annually over the next 10 years. Already there is anecdotal evidence that pork producers have incurred higher transportation costs because some packing plants will process only U.S.-origin pigs, and packers are directing Canadian-born pigs to other plants.”