Ag Policy Blog

Great, Another COOL Blog

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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COOL -- I have no more puns for COOL. I cashed all those in years ago.

(There was a nice little rant here about 15 years of writing COOL articles that I deleted.)

Supporters of country-of-origin labeling declared victory Monday that they had beaten back a federal lawsuit filed by the nation's meatpackers and other critics of the legislation. A bigger question was just how relevant the litigation is in the grand scheme of things because the World Trade Organization is going to tell everyone what is going to happen with COOL.

Still, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson praised the dismissal of the U.S. District Court lawsuit on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), filed by the multinational meatpacking industry and their allies to try and stop the USDA from implementing the very popular labeling law.

“This is a clear and indisputable win for American consumers and producers, and it’s a huge relief to know that common-sense labeling laws, like COOL, can prevail in court despite the deep pockets of the multinationals,” said Johnson.

Led by the American Meat Institute -- now the North American Meat Institute -- plaintiffs in the case sought in 2013 to block USDA from implementing the country-of-origin labeling rule handed down from USDA earlier that year. COOL opponents sued, but courts continued to rule that USDA had authority to implement the law. The plaintiffs had until Monday to either file paperwork to continue their case or drop it. The plaintiffs dropped it.

There isn't much legal gain. The appeal at the World Trade Organization will determine whether the U.S. will have to scrap this latest rule or face possible retaliatory actions from Canada and Mexico.

NFU still saw enough victory in the lawsuit to praise the decision. “If the U.S. Courts are any indication of the trajectory of success of COOL, then American consumers are finally going to be permitted to know where their food comes from without intervention from our chief trade competitors and their multinational allies,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the Canadian ag minister strutted his way back to Ottawa after spending time in Washington, D.C., last week reminding everyone what terrible trading partners we are. It seems Gerry Ritz can't wait to implement tariffs over COOL. Did anyone discuss supply management or dairy tariffs with the minister during his time in the U.S.? I hear Canadian consumers have to pay more for milk, yogurt, eggs and poultry products. Times are tough Gerry. Tear down those tariffs while you are in the process of slapping down some new ones.

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Bonnie Dukowitz
2/10/2015 | 6:26 AM CST
While shopping last week I looked at a bag of candy. "Product of Canada", I placed it in my cart.