New Rules Not So COOL
May 23, 2013
USDA's response to a WTO complaint to our Country of Origin Labeling program is getting a cool reception on both sides of the border. The change modifies the labeling provisions for muscle cut covered commodities to require the origin destinations to include information about where each of the production steps occurred and removes the allowance for commingling of muscle cuts. NCBA fears retaliatory tariffs and loss of markets. Canada says the changes make COOL worse rather than better. I understand and respect the opinion of those who believe consumers have the right to know what country their meat comes from. However the right to know seems to be outweighed by the want to know. While some consumers feel strongly about buying American and try to do so, it doesn't seem the majority is willing to put their money where their mouths are. I think most consumers assume that as long as the meat in their store's meat case is USDA inspected it is safe and price has more influence on their purchase than origin. So far COOL hasn't seemed to increase U.S.beef sales so why risk losing important export markets? I know many still question following WTO rules but as long as we are part of that group and enjoy the benefits that go with it, then we can't expect others to abide by rules we ignore. COOL seems to offer more downside risk than upside potential.