Ag Information Network: Senator Calls Mandatory COOL a Win-Win

by Haylie Shipp

With your Southeast Regional Ag News, I am Haylie Shipp. This is the Ag Information Network.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When it comes to agricultural policy, there is a lot that gets recycled. One such concept: Country of Origin Labeling. It was law. Then it was challenged internationally. Then it wasn’t law. And now, maybe it will be law again?

I chatted recently with U.S. Senator for the State of Montana, Jon Tester…

“Well I think we’ve got a bipartisan effort now to get mandatory Country of Origin Labeling across the finish line. I think it’s important. I think if we had mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, this Paraguay beef issue would be much less concerning to me.”

…the Paraguay beef issue being that, for the first time in 20 years, the U.S. is now allowing imports from the country with a tainted past when it comes to Foot and Mouth Disease…

“The only people that lose on this deal are the multi-national beef corporations that comingle the products together, that say their audit system isn’t able to keep the beef separate and so it all goes in the same vat.”

Senator Tester noted that this process does still make for a safe product. It gets a USDA inspection as required by law and gets a USDA stamp…

“Which means it’s safe to eat, but it doesn’t mean it’s a U.S. product. And so, if we got mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, which by the way, Senator Thune and I are working on as I speak, I think it’s a win-win.”

That win-win, according to Tester, is for the cow/calf producers, cattle feeders, and American consumer.