NFU: Split WTO Ruling Means No Need to Change Labeling Law

2 07 2012

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2012) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) split decision that Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) is compliant with WTO rules:

“NFU is pleased that the labeling law itself is allowable under WTO. NFU will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that COOL is implemented in a way that is WTO-compliant.

“The ruling was a split decision. It stated that imported animals are being discounted due to the segregation requirements and additional record keeping that is required to comply with the law. The good news is this can be changed through the regulatory process and there is no need to change the law that informs consumers from where their food comes. A statutory change is unnecessary and NFU will not support any such modification.

“The appellate body also reversed the lower bodies ruling and said that COOL is not more trade restrictive, which is a win for the United States, our ranchers and our consumers.

“Consumers have a right to know from where their meat comes  – and they overwhelmingly want to know just that. WTO’s decision today confirmed that right.

“NFU has a proud record of supporting COOL. We were instrumental in getting the COOL laws passed in 2002 and again in 2008.”

The labeling law was passed as a part of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and amended in 2008, requiring retailers to notify their customers of the source of certain foods. Canada and Mexico filed a complaint against the United States’ law. A WTO ruling earlier this year agreed with the complaint, and that decision was reaffirmed Friday.

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