Vilsack says COOL not a problem
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in Ohio on Friday, January 31 talking about the Farm Bill provisions and biobased manufacturing did stray from the topic when he was asked about Country of Origin Labeling.
“I think it’s less of a concern from the rank and file producers that I talk to, it’s primarily from the processors,” said Vilsack. “The processors are looking at this as something they don’t want to do, fiar enough, but I do think consumers have the right to know and I don’t think it’s hurt our competitiveness in the market place.”
Pointing to the direction Congress has taken on the labeling issue, coupled with record pork and beef exports, Secretary Vilsack also does not share the same concern with COOL that the livestock groups like the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) when it comes to the WTO.
“Our friends in Canada and Mexico have raised concerns about this, we don’t think they are legitimate concerns and we’re pushing back in the WTO, we’re also questioning whether or not Canada and Mexican producers have suffered financially as the result of a label, or as a result of some other circumstance in the economy or in the country,” Vilsack said. “And frankly if the WTO says we haven’t complied, then we have options to respond which in my view will not hurt the industry.”