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Voluntary COOL in the works

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is working on a voluntary country-of-origin labeling program in an effort to deal with the recent World Trade Organization ruling and the ever-growing prospect of over $3 billion in tariffs on U.S. agricultural products that would be imposed by Canada and Mexico.

The voluntary proposal would be an alternative to the House passed legislation that repeals COOL for beef and pork. Stabenow said, “This approach is a pathway to finding a solution on country-of-origin labeling. COOL serves an important role for consumers and industry. However, the WTO has been clear that we must find a solution that is consistent with our international trade obligations. This proposal offers a viable alternative and I look forward to discussing it at our hearing and with my colleagues in the Senate as we work to come to agreement on a bipartisan solution.”

The legislation would allow for voluntary COOL for beef and pork. Mandatory COOL would still cover lamb, ground beef, ground pork and chicken. The House earlier this month passed legislation to repeal COOL for beef, pork and poultry. 

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