Consumers Deserve COOL More Than Ever

US - No longer should Congress or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continue to postpone the implementation of Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), a law on the books since the 2002 Farm Bill was passed.
calendar icon 10 May 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Thousands of U.S. hogs in six states were quarantined this week because they were fed imported feed ingredients contaminated with the chemical melamine, found in plastics and pesticides, which falsely boosts the protein ratio of feedstuffs. This raises the obvious question of how much imported meat is produced from foreign animals fed melamine, thus heightening the need for COOL so consumers, themselves, can determine where they want their food produced.

According to The Associated Press, China did not acknowledge until today that Chinese companies had indeed shipped wheat gluten and rice protein tainted with melamine to the United States. Dow Jones Newswires reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will begin to test imported ingredients in pet foods and livestock feed, as well as additives to human food, due to concerns that a wide variety of Chinese vegetable protein products may be contaminated with the harmful compound.

“Since 2002, big-money interests have been successful in getting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to postpone writing the rules to implement COOL for beef,” said R-CALF USA COOL Committee Chair Mike Schultz.

“It’s high time that Congress forced USDA to obey the law and implement COOL,” he continued. “Consumers have made it very clear they want to know where their food comes from. USDA once was known as the ‘people’s agency,’ but now it’s a revolving door for special-interest groups like the multinational packers. No federal agency should be able to pick and choose what laws it wants to enforce. We want COOL now.

“The big packers know labeling is important because they use name brands to promote their products,” Schultz said. “If they don’t think COOL is a good idea, they could at least mark imported beef as ‘generic.’ They know labels have value.”


For further reading On Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), click here.
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