Meat/Poultry Inspection

Consumer, Rancher Advocates Ask Congress to Reinstate COOL

Consumer Federation of America and other groups representing consumers, farmers, and ranchers, sent the following letter urging congressional leaders to reinstate mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements for beef and pork. A recently proposed bill, S.2744, The U.S. Beef Integrity Act, would address imported beef sold to consumers with a “Product of USA” label despite having been derived from an animal born, raised and slaughtered in a foreign country. The groups’ letter asks the Senators sponsoring that legislation to go further, and make COOL mandatory for all beef and pork.

Until 2015, USDA required COOL for fresh beef and pork products, specifically labels indicating where the cow or pig was born, raised, and slaughtered. Congress revoked those requirements, however, after a World Trade Organization arbitration panel ruled that they were an unlawful ‘trade barrier.’

In a 2017 poll commissioned by CFA, eighty-nine percent (89%) of a representative sample of 1000 adult Americans favored, either strongly or somewhat, requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country of origin of fresh meat they sell. Mandatory COOL still applies to many other foods, including chicken and lamb.