Will Trump Reinstate COOL Regs?

Cattlemen who were denied a legal challenge to current U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations say they hope President Trump will side with them and reinstate the regulations that were put in place in 2009. Other industry observers say such a possibility is a Hail Mary. 

The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington in Spokane, granted summary judgement to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a lawsuit filed last year. The lawsuit, filed by R-CALF USA and the Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW), alleged that USDA is required, but is failing to provide country-of-origin labeling on imported beef and pork. The suit named USDA and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as defendants.

Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson agreed with the plaintiffs that the government’s decision caused them financial harm, yet ruled in favor of the government saying the statute of limitations had run out, and that Congress had clearly intended to have the labeling end.

“The fact that the court agreed with us that independent pork and beef producers are harmed by COOL makes it even clearer that the Trump Administration and Congress must act now to protect them,” said David Muraskin, lead counsel for R-CALF in the suit. “This movement has been gaining ground outside of court, and we expect it to continue doing so despite this ruling.”

The court determined that the cattle producers were time-barred from prevailing in their case because the regulations that allowed the removal of COOL labels on imported beef was promulgated in 1989 and the statute of limitations expired in 1995. The court did not agree with the cattle producers that the clock should have been reset after the 2016 repeal of the COOL for beef.

Moreover, the court found that Congress’ act of repealing COOL for beef signified its clear intent to allow imported beef to be sold to consumers without COOL markings.

“President Trump now has the opportunity to immediately reinstate COOL in his ongoing renegotiation of NAFTA as well as by initiating a rulemaking within USDA to require imported beef to bear its foreign marking through retail sale, just as the COOL rule effectively did from 2009 through 2015,” said R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard.

However, support for re-instating COOL is not universal throughout the industry. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) have opposed COOL since it was first introduced.

“The North American Meat Institute is pleased” with this week’s ruling in favor of USDA, Mark Dopp, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Scientific Affairs/General Counsel told Drovers in an email. “The court’s order makes clear that, the complaint was not only barred by the statute of limitations regarding the imported products rule promulgated in 1989, even if that had not been the case both the 1989 rule and 2016 rule removing beef and pork from mandatory COOL accurately reflect Congressional intent.”

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Submitted by Jacie Hamm on Fri, 06/08/2018 - 07:33

That's the single reason I don't belong to NCBA their ads show Japanese consumers buying beef under the USA banner yet they are strongly against COOL I don't get it I raise Black Angus beef in Southwest Missouri and I think we should be proud to label our product USA BEEF

Submitted by Anthony Young on Sat, 06/09/2018 - 20:31

I have not talked to a single cattle producer or consumer who does not support MCOOL! In fact most consumers think that US beef is what it says. They become very upset when I inform them that imported beef is packaged and sold as US beef! Yet the NCBA doesn’t support MCOOL. I will never be associated with this organization!! This will all blow us out of business when China, Japan, and other importers of US beef realize their not getting US beef. Why do you think they don’t accept Brazilian beef? 18

In reply to by Jacie Hamm (not verified)

Submitted by Craig on Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:16

With all the problems they had with the original COOL wording and getting taken to the WTC, why not write COOL the same way that Canada has theirs written?

"Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The guidelines for labelling imported meat products are essentially the same as those for the labels of Canadian meat products, with two important differences (7.21.1, Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures):
• "product of (country of origin)" is to appear in close proximity to the product description; it shall be at least half the height of the largest letter on the main panel; and
• the inspection stamp or the statement of the exporting country must replace the Meat Inspection legend."

Submitted by Brad on Fri, 06/08/2018 - 11:25

Since republicans repealed cool for the corporations we have lost 50 percent of what we were getting. Drain the swamp! Reinstate COOL!

Submitted by bob on Fri, 06/08/2018 - 12:00

luckily ca still has label laws. It is frustrating to see meat from other countries, of course i would never buy it. To anyone wondering Trader Joes label their hamburger as Mexico/Canada/Australia origin. On each package! That is one well traveled steer!

Submitted by Milan on Sat, 06/09/2018 - 10:44

Will Trump Reinstate COOL Regs? May be yes or maybe not. Its all depend upon the people. I have also wrote an custom writing blog on this topic. I hope he will reinstate cool regs.

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