ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

NFU Concerned over COOL Loophole

by 5m Editor
18 September 2008, at 8:45a.m.

US - National Farmers Union yesterday expressed disappointment in the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) interpretation of the country of origin labelling (COOL) provision in the 2008 Farm Bill and urged the department to immediately reinterpret the provision. COOL is scheduled to go into effect on 1 October 2008.

NFU was joined by R-CALF USA and the US Cattlemen’s Association in a letter to USDA Secretary Schafer expressing concern over reports large meat processors intend to circumvent both the intent and letter of the labelling law.

“The law clearly states that products born, raised and slaughtered in the United States are to be labelled as a product of the United States. Despite this clear language, USDA’s rules will allow packers to label exclusively American products with those from other countries,” NFU President Tom Buis said.


*
"The law clearly states that products born, raised and slaughtered in the United States are to be labeled as a product of the United States. Despite this clear language, USDA’s rules will allow packers to label exclusively American products with those from other countries."
Tom Buis, NFU President

The farm bill language explicitly states exclusively born, raised and processed US animals cannot be used in the multiple country category (category 2).

“USDA has created a loophole big enough to drive a truck through, violating the spirit, letter and intent of the law and deceiving consumers who have consistently shown support for buying U.S. products,” Mr Buis said. “This is about truth in labeling.”

The COOL provision in the farm bill was a compromise agreement that creates four labeling categories:

  1. Products exclusively born, raised and processed in the United States would be labeled as a US product;
  2. Products from animals that were not exclusively born, raised and processed in the United States and not imported for immediate slaughter be labelled with all countries in which the animal may have been born, raised or processed;
  3. An animal that was imported for immediate processing may be labeled as a product of the importing country and the United States; and
  4. Animals that were born, raised and processed in a foreign country will be labelled as a product of the country of origin.

“We negotiated in good faith, offering flexibility for processors to transition their facilities to appropriately segregate animals,” Mr Buis said. “Yet processors have been clear about their intent to take advantage of our efforts. This is a disservice to COOL and consumers.”

Despite COOL’s inclusion in the 2002 Farm Bill, the provision was never implemented. Mr Buis said both producers and consumers have waited far too long for COOL to become a reality.

5m Editor