June 25, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called rhetoric aimed at repealing Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), in today’s Senate hearing “overkill,” and pointed out that viable options remain on the table that would allow the U.S. to keep its popular labeling law while appeasing World Trade Organization (WTO) demands.

“The ceaseless saber rattling by Canada, threatening instant retaliation against the United States, is premature and over-hyped, because Canada has yet to make a credible case for real economic harm from COOL,” said Johnson.

“Looking at the recent report from Dr. Robert Taylor at Auburn University, there is significant evidence indicating that any harm to our trading partners by COOL has been negligible at best and likely attributed to the economic downturn of 2008, and not COOL,” he said.

Johnson point out that many times in the past, WTO members have worked as partners to find a mutual solution that satisfies all parties and demonstrates that good neighbors can indeed work together on complex issues. “Unfortunately, labeling law opponents like the multinational meatpackers and Canadian officials are trying to scare the American public with threats of huge job losses and sudden economic devastation, when in fact they could be working on a fair solution,” he added.

The recent bill to repeal COOL passed in the U.S. House of Representatives went far beyond what the WTO found fault with by repealing chicken, ground beef and ground pork.  “What the Senate needs to remember is that primarily, this is a right to know issue for consumers,” said Johnson. “Meatpackers would rather return to a situation whereby they can deceive consumers into believing they are buying a U.S. product when in fact they may not be,” he said.

“We urge the Senate to not kowtow to Canadian rhetoric and instead find a way to give the American public what it wants, which is to know where its food is from,” he said.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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