The Office of Management and Budget has released proposed changes to Country-of-Origin Labeling rules. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the proposed changes are an excellent response to decisions by the World Trade Organization that called for changes to our COOL implementation. By requiring further clarity in labels and stronger recordkeeping - he says the set of rules released Friday are a win-win for farmers, ranchers and consumers. Johnson adds that the proposed rule is consistent with the legal analysis commissioned by NFU and other producer and consumer allies.
The legal analysis released in February detailed the available options for successful U.S. compliance of the WTO’s ruling on COOL. The conclusion was that providing more information and more accurate details to consumers would be an effective way of complying with the WTO decision. It would not require producers or processors to collect additional information - and OMB has determined the changes are not economically significant.
Under the proposed rule - origin destinations for animals slaughtered in the U.S. would be required to specify the production steps of birth, raising and slaughter of the animal. The proposed rule would also eliminate the allowance for any comingling of muscle cut covered commodities of different origins. Notice of the proposed rule will be posted in the March 11, 2013 Federal Register. Comments must be received by April 11th. NFU will offer supportive comments. Johnson is encouraging NFU members and the general public to do the same.