The farm bill conference talks will decide whether consumers will still get some indication where their meat was born, raised and slaughtered.
Still, National Farmers Union issued a statement Tuesday, firing back at Canada's agricultural minister over COOL. NFU stated Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had confirmed USDA's commitment to Country-of-Origin Labeling. The statement noted the U.S. Trade Representative's Office also has indicated repeatedly that USDA' s new rule would meet World Trade Organization rules.
“It is important to remember that the WTO found the COOL law to be compliant. Many other countries in the WTO have similar laws," Johnson said.
The question is whether Congress is going to let the WTO process play out or concede to Canada and Mexico.
“The United States has never conceded to the WTO before being directed to do so by a dispute panel. This is not the issue that should change that standing. Consumers have indicated that they want to know where their food has been produced, and we should provide that information," Johnson said.
“Recent threats by the Canadian Agriculture Minister are unjustified and out of line. As a sovereign nation, we should not take direction from Canada. They do not dictate what is compliant, it is the reason we have the WTO.
“NFU will continue to stand up for U.S. family farmers, ranchers and consumers on this issue. We urge Congress to uphold the COOL law as it stands and allow USDA, USTR and the WTO to do their work.”
Canadian Ag Minister Gerry Ritz was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday saying he was "very confident" that COOL would be repealed in the farm bill. Citing support from over 100 House and Senate members to repeal the provision, Ritz told the paper "the ground has shifted, the tide has changed" on COOL.
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