COOL and USDA proposed changes

Monday Mar 25 2013
by Manitoba Pork Chop Talk e Newsletter

Earlier this month, the USDA proposed a number of changes to COOL regulations that would require labelling of muscle cuts to include the origin designations about where each of the production steps (born, raised, slaughtered) occurred.  Where the current COOL regulations would allow "Product of the U.S." labels only on cuts from animals born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S., the new rule would allow such cuts' labels to read “Born, Raised, and Slaughtered in the U.S.”

The proposed rule is supposed to remove discrimination found by the WTO after a lengthy expensive challenge by Canada.  Instead, it exacerbates the problems posed by COOL. The proposed modified COOL rule will increase the level of discrimination against imported livestock and prolong the already lengthy WTO dispute.

The USDA is aware that the proposed regulatory changes are likely to increase the risk that Canada will be in a position to retaliate. Lost live swine and beef cattle exports since COOL became mandatory in the fall of 2008 exceed $1 billion annually. Should the U.S. not comply with its WTO obligations, retaliation will be inevitable.

The United States has until May 23 to comply with the July 23, 2012 decision of the WTO Appellate Body that COOL discriminates against non-U.S.-born and raised livestock raised and processed in the U.S.  

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