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USDA Report Shows Little Economic Benefit to COOL

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

A new USDA report finds some evidence of consumer interest, but negligible economic benefit, to mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL). The report, which was required by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides a comprehensive economic analysis of the rule and concludes that the cost of COOL's labeling requirements outweighs the economic benefits of implementing the rule.

The rule would require meat to be labeled with information on where the livestock was born, raised and slaughtered, and is currently awaiting a final decision by the World Trade Organization (WTO). If the WTO rules in favor of COOL, Canada and Mexico are expected to seek retaliation against the U.S. by imposing trade sanctions.

In a statement, House Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) expressed concern about potential trade sanctions resulting from the WTO's ruling: "In order to avoid what could be devastating retaliatory sanctions against U.S. businesses if we lose, the starting point needs to be that mandatory COOL for meat is a failed experiment which should be repealed."

The WTO is expected to issue its ruling by May 18, 2015.

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