Washington -- National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement following recent comments by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) rule adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in May:
'USTR has officially confirmed what NFU has been saying all along: the changes contained in USDA's Final Rule will bring the current COOL requirements into compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling.
'The farm bill conference committee members who spoke in opposition to COOL during Wednesday's public meeting bluntly revealed that, although the provision in the House farm bill directs USDA to merely conduct a study on implementation of the rule, their true intention is to repeal the COOL language entirely, leaving consumers uninformed about the origin of their meat, poultry and seafood.
'COOL opponents are trying to scare Congress into premature and unwarranted legislative action because they see the writing on the wall: meatpackers' chances of winning COOL challenges at the WTO and in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia are slim.
'It is troubling that consumers can read the label on their t-shirt to find out where it was made, but the country's largest meatpackers and processors are fighting tooth and nail to prevent Americans from being able to get the same information about the food they feed their families.'
USTR's comments appeared in a Nov. 1 Inside U.S. Trade article entitled, 'COOL Opponents Secure Lucas' Support in New Push to Change Law.'
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National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.