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NCBA supports a voluntary labeling program

A push for mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (mCOOL) has resurfaced but the head of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says a mandatory label would do more harm than good.

CEO Colin Woodall says the WTO previously ruled against the US appeal to keep its country-of-origin-labeling program.  “There is no mandatory program that would satisfy them,” he says.  “The return of any mandatory Country of Origin Labeling program would automatically trigger $1-billion in retaliatory tariffs against us by Canada and Mexico.”

University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says a mandatory labeling system could potentially cut off the US from participating in a global trade market, which has helped to increase the value of US beef.  “Global economy matters to us,” he says.  “Even though we’ve been through all of this COVID-19 right now.  If we get beyond that and we’re back to global income growth happening around the rest of the world we need those export markets available to us.  So we’re going to have to tread carefully as we move forward in that discussion.”

Woodall tells Brownfield NCBA does fully support a voluntary labeling program.  “We believe the best way to do this is to focus all labeling programs on the USDA system that is currently in place,” he says. “The Process Verified Program, where you can have any number of labels to be approved, audited, and verified and utilized for marketing.”

A petition recently launched by R-CALF USA and its rancher-members urging the President and Congress to reinstate mCOOL for beef, pork, and dairy products has gained more than 250,000 signatures and a resolution was introduced last week by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) requiring the US Trade Representatives to enter into trade negotiations needed to implement country-of-origin labeling for beef. 

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