Wednesday, February 3, 2021

U.S. continues to flog a dead horse – COOL

During Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday, Tom Vilsack, the former Ag Secretary who is President Biden’s nominee to return as Ag Secretary, said he is willing to consider reimplementation of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations for meat products.

Addressing a question from Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer about whether he believes the current labeling policy adequately informed consumers, Vilsack said, “If it’s the same policy as it was four years ago when I left, the answer is no.”

As Ag Secretary under President Obama, Vilsack said, “We made every concerted effort to try to create better transparency and better information for consumers, because we understand that consumers want to know where their food comes from.”

Vilsack said the Obama Administration attempted on three occasions to strengthen COOL but was unsuccessful because of Canadian challenges to the law through the World Trade Organization (WTO). In December 2015, Congress repealed the COOL law for beef and pork because of a series of WTO rulings that prohibited labels based on country of origin on some products.