The WTO is not COOL

On my way to the gym this morning, I was listening to a local talk radio program and they mentioned a piece of news that I am certain you will find interesting. In 2009, a law was passed in the US that required all meat and produce to prominently display the country of origin. COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) was implemented March 19, 2009.

Under COOL, retailers must provide their customers with information about the origin of various food products, including fruits, vegetables, fish and shellfish and meats. Mandatory COOL requirements help consumers make informed purchasing decisions about the food they buy. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is responsible for the implementation, administration and enforcement of the COOL regulations.


Without getting into specifics, several countries (including Canada and Mexico) filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming that COOL violated the Fair Trade Act because US consumers will ultimately choose foods produced in the US over foods from other countries 98% of the time . I have to give out a resounding “duh” to that statistic. The United States has much more strict food processing and  farming guidelines than most other countries. The other day I was at Wal-Mart and saw frozen salmon for a great price. I looked at the package and it was from China, so I didn’t buy it. Something about 300K babies being poisoned by tainted formula makes me a little leery of purchasing seafood from the same country.

Adam Reiser of Made in USA Certified, posted the following information on his blog:

U.S. producers must remove PRODUCT OF USA and the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Currently food products must be labeled with what country they originate from.  93(1)% of Americans agree and support the rules as they exist today.  The WTO (World Trade Organization), which we are a member of, has found our COOL law is a “Barrier to Entry(2)” for its members.   A few of the WTO member countries (Mexico and Canada) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. in their self-appointed biased tribunal court.  We were found in violation(3) of putting up barriers to entry; then we appealed(4) and also lost the appeal.

On or before May 23rd 2013 the U.S. COOL “PRODUCT OF USA” must be removed off all packing for BEEF, PORK, LAMB, CHICKEN, GOAT, SHELL FISH and more….

You can read the full post here.

***A friend helped me locate the final rule posted by the Federal Register: You can read it here

There has been no mention of this in the media so it is up to us to get the word out. Share it with everyone you know!


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