New country-of-origin labeling proposed rule makes current costly, cumbersome requirements even more onerous and disruptive, according to members of the US meat industry.
“Only the government could take a costly, cumbersome rule like mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and make it worse even as it claims to ‘fix it’”, said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “That’s exactly what they are doing with a new proposed rule that purportedly aims to bring the law into compliance with US obligations under the World Trade Organization.”
“The proposed rule is even more onerous, disruptive and expensive than the current regulation implemented in 2009. Complying with this proposal, should it become mandatory, will create more excessive costs that will be passed onto consumers. An absurd example of one of the proposed changes is this: a plant or grocery retailer that currently labels its product, “Product of the US” would now have to change the labels on its packages to read, “Born, raised and slaughtered in the US”.
“The bottom line: mandatory country-of-origin labeling is conceptually flawed, in our view and in the eyes of our trading partners. The anti-free trade objectives of this labeling scheme’s proponents are no secret. Requiring us now to provide even more information at a greater cost when evidence shows consumers, by and large, are not reading the current country-of-origin information is an ill-conceived public policy option.”