Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that effective immediately the USDA would no longer enforce the country-of-origin labeling requirements for muscle cut and ground beef and pork as outlined in the USDA’s January 2009 and May 2013 final rules.
This is a result of the omnibus appropriations bill repealing COOL that was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. The USDA will be amending the COOL regulations as expeditiously as possible to reflect the repeal of the beef and pork provisions. In addition, all imported and domestic meat will continue to be subject to rigorous inspections by the USDA to ensure food safety.
Congress’ repeal COOL avoids the potential of $1.01 billion annually in tariffs by Canada and Mexico that were recently approved by the World Trade Organization.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “For several years now, the writing has been on the wall that U.S. COOL requirements for meat were doomed at the WTO. Since its inception, I have warned that retaliation was coming, and I’m pleased American agriculture and businesses will escape these tariffs.”
COOL was first established in the 2002 farm bill and was implemented after the 2008 farm bill. COOL remains in place for lamb and poultry.