by Greg Henderson
02:56PM Mar 06, 2020
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made clear his position on mandatory country-of-origin labeling on beef in his State of the Rural Economy testimony before the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.
Mandatory COOL “is not going to happen unless we want to do a billion-dollar litigation damage with Mexico and Canada,” he said.
However, Perdue said the agency is working to develop a new program of meat labeling that would conform to World Trade Organization’s regulations. America’s previous country-of-origin labeling laws were repealed by Congress in 2015 under threat of $1 billion retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico through the WTO.
Perdue said USDA is considering a label that would read “slaughtered and processed in the United States,” but believes it cannot say “born in the United States” because that would violate WTO standards.
In response to a question during the hearing, Perdue said USDA is “trying to thread the needle honestly, with transparency, so the consumer knows what they get and [we] help the producer feel they get value for cattle that have been grown and processed [in the U.S.].”