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Meat Institute Welcomes WTO Appellate Body Ruling Affirming That Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling Violates U.S. Trade Obligations

Monday, May 18, 2015
 


Attribute Statement to North American Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter

Washington, DC, May 18, 2015 -- “If there ever was any question that that mandatory country-of-origin labeling is a trade barrier that violates our international agreements, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling against the United States today should lay those doubts to rest. The WTO has spoken not once, not twice, not three times, but four times in panel and appellate body decisions. All four rulings found against the U.S.

Now, after years of grappling with this costly and onerous rule – a rule that USDA’s own economic analysis says is a burden on livestock producers, meat packers and processors with no consumer benefit – it is clear that repealing the statute is the best step forward. Repeal is particularly warranted given new data released earlier this month by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, which shows country-of-origin information maintained its ninth place spot on the list of 11 pieces of labeling information that consumers use when choosing a food product. Perhaps more importantly, the percentage of consumers saying they use COOL labels has declined markedly from 29 percent in 2013, to 26 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2015. By contrast, half of consumers look for expiration dates and the nutrition facts panel.

Any action other than repeal invites retaliation from Canada and Mexico that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars. We look forward to working with Congress to repeal COOL once and for all, so that the United States can comply with its trade obligations, avoid unnecessary retaliation against our products and restore our strong relationships with important trading partners.”

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