Comment Period Open For COOL Rule

Comment Period Open For COOL Rule

Ag groups have mixed opinions on changes.

National Farmers Union submitted comments Monday in support of the proposed rule to strengthen Country-of-Origin Labeling regulations and offered input on additional ways to bolster the integrity of COOL.

Recent decisions by the World Trade Organization have ruled against aspects of the implementation of COOL rules.

Ag groups have mixed opinions on changes.

"Farmers, ranchers, and livestock producers take pride in making high quality products available to consumers, who can then make an educated purchasing decision at the grocery store," said NFU President Roger Johnson in the comments. "Consumers continue to demand more information about their food. This is why it is critical that strong regulatory changes to the COOL regulation be made to promote U.S. products to our nation's consumers."

NFU supports the proposed rule's requirement that each specific production step be labeled with the country in which it takes place. This will provide more information than the current method of labeling multiple countries of origin without specifying which step occurs in which country. NFU also supports the elimination of comingling allowances for muscle cuts, which will reduce confusion for consumers.

"More specific and accurate labels, together with tightening up current comingling requirements will directly respond to the problem the WTO found with the current COOL rules," said Johnson.

Despite NFU's support, other groups do not support the proposed ruling. The American Meat Institute in March said the new rule could actually hurt consumers by passing on costs required to process and label meat in a new way.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association also expressed concerns in March about recordkeeping costs.

Visit www.regulations.gov and searching for "Country-of-Origin Labeling" to comment on the rule. The comment period closes on April 11.

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