The House of Representatives has voted in favor of removing country-of-origin food packaging labels (COOL) from meats sold in the United States.
The vote followed the World Trade Organization’s rejection of a U.S. appeal regarding the law. Canada and Mexico opposed the labeling because it required their animals to be segregated from those of U.S. origin. Due to the high cost of this process, some U.S. companies had stopped buying exports from the two countries.
In response to the labeling, the two bordering countries announced that they would impose a $3 billion trade sanction on the States. Canada also threatened to impose trade restrictions on U.S. products, including meat, wine, chocolate, jewelry and furniture.
Congress enacted COOL as a part of 2002 and 2008 farm bills that required meat producers to identify their animals’ origin, along with the place they were raised and slaughtered. The law required this information to be printed on food packaging labels.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway said, “If COOL worked, perhaps there would be a response other than repeal. But the fact is COOL has been a marketing failure.”
However, not all representatives are against the labeling.
Michigan senator Deborah Stabenow said, “I plan on working with my senate colleagues to develop legislation that ensures consumers have information about where their food comes from while also meeting our international trade obligations.”