Tester bill turns up the heat on COOL

Legislation would protect American consumers and producers

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Montana Senator Jon Tester has co-sponsored legislation that will put more pressure on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fully implement Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

Tester's legislation would prohibit importing cattle over the age of 30 months from Canada until COOL is in effect across the United States.

Earlier this month, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the presence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called Mad Cow Disease, in a mature dairy cow from British Columbia.  This marks the 11th case of BSE in native Canadian cattle.  BSE is a neurological disease which typically affects older animals.

"Montana and America are home to the world's finest, safest, and tastiest beef in the world," Tester said.  "Country of Origin Labeling is long overdue and it's time the USDA makes it a priority.  This latest incident of BSE in Canada only strengthens our need for COOL to protect both American consumers and producers."

Tester, one of only two farmers in the U.S. Senate, sponsored legislation implementing COOL as President of the Montana Senate.  Congress has passed COOL but the program has yet to be funded at the federal level.

"Montanans know where their shoes and clothes are made.  They deserve to know where their steaks come from—it's just common sense," Tester said.

This legislation, Senate Bill 1308, was introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.).  Other cosponsors are Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).