Center urges Support for Meat Labeling

Opportunity for public comments closing

Lyons, NE – Today, the Center for Rural Affairs submitted comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in support of a proposed administrative rule that would dramatically strengthen U.S. Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) rules for beef, pork, lamb and a number of other food products.

“People still have a little time left to comment on the new COOL rule. Comments must be submitted on or before April 11, 2013, however, so the comment window is closing rapidly.”

John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs

According to Crabtree, COOL requires retailers to provide consumers information about the country where beef, pork, lamb, goat, fish, shellfish, and certain other agricultural products are produced. However, last June, the World Trade Organization found that US COOL rules for meat discriminate against Canadian and Mexican imports. After a WTO appellate panel upheld their own decision, a deadline of May 23, 2013 was issued to the United States to come into compliance with the WTO decision and subsequent rulings.

“Fortunately, on March 8th, USDA issued a proposed rule that both strengthens COOL rules and comes into compliance with prior WTO decisions,” Crabtree continued. “The new rule would do away with commingling of muscle cuts, eliminate the vague “mixed origin” label, and require that all cuts of meat display information on the label about where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.”

The Center for Rural Affairs applauds USDA’s new COOL rule. The “born, raised, and slaughtered” standard is especially encouraging. We’ve worked for nearly two decades in support of the “born, raised and slaughtered” labeling standard. First to get the COOL law passed as part of the 2002 Farm Bill and then nearly a decade to see it implemented. And now, finally, we are poised to see the “born, raised and slaughtered” standard become the foundation of America’s country of origin labeling rules, Crabtree explained.

“Of course the meatpackers and their allies are scurrying for cover,” Crabtree added. “Retaining the strength of the rule will require support from family farmers, ranchers, rural organizations, and other concerned citizens. Which is why we are urging everyone to offer your comments on and your support for the proposed COOL rule by April 11th in order to make sure your voice is heard at USDA.”

Comments to USDA on the proposed COOL rule must be received on or before April 11, 2013. The Center for Rural Affairs has additional information provided for those who wish to comment made available at


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