Ag Policy Blog

NFU Snaps Back at Canada Over COOL

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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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Minister Gerry Ritz was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday saying he was "very confident" that COOL would be repealed in the farm bill.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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Bonnie Dukowitz
11/8/2013 | 7:11 AM CST
"Traced to farm of origin", Dayton. Then why not "COOL"? If not made in USA, I prefer, made in Canada.
DAYTON FUNK
11/7/2013 | 9:14 PM CST
Craig, seriously there were several home grown cases of BSE in the USA. Perhaps that's why you stopped looking. Canada has a rigorous testing and I.D. program in place you only wish you had. Every calf that enters the food chain can be identified to it's farm of origin.
CRAIG MOORE
11/7/2013 | 10:18 AM CST
I still don't understand how any labeling, as long as it is not misleading or deceitful, can be restricted in any country by any other out of country organization. Cows from Canada, with BSE, raised in the US caused the restriction of beef exports from the US. When is Canada going to compensate the US for the billions lost over the years? And why can the US make companies put on what country their shrimp comes from but we can't put on where our sirloin comes from?
CRAIG MOORE
11/7/2013 | 10:16 AM CST
I still don't understand how any labeling, as long as it is not misleading or deceitful, can be restricted in any country by any other out of country organization. Cows from Canada, with BSE, raised in the US caused the restriction of beef exports from the US. When is Canada going to compensate the US for the billions lost over the years? And why can the US make companies put on what country their shrimp comes from but we can't put on where our sirloin comes from?
DAYTON FUNK
11/6/2013 | 11:48 AM CST
Johnson, I believe most of your food has been produced through GMO's in a lab. Better label that too.
DAYTON FUNK
11/6/2013 | 8:18 AM CST
Trade must be balanced. The my way or the highway attitude has to change. "Cool" is protectionism at it's worst and not good for either country. The cattle market has taken several blows since BSE and most producers are feeling just a little fed up. Where will the USA move the mountains of Corn if the feeding industry is handcuffed? Tyson has and others will close packing plants laying off thousands of workers where in a country losing jobs is not in your best interest. We as Canadian's know your desperate but don't come grovelling to us when things don't work out. We have the lowest cost of production and can compete on any playing field as we have in the past. Don't worry there are other countries like the EU willing to take our beef too, no strings attached.