Mandatory country-of-origin labeling for beef is a hot topic leading up to the 2007 Farm Bill. COOL was included in the 2002 Farm Bill, but has only been implemented for fish. The National Cattleman's Beef Association and the American Meat Institute argue the measure is unworkable, while R-CALF USA is pushing for implementation.
AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle criticizes COOL supporters as being overly protectionist.
"The protectionists' short-sighted approach to limiting competition is sure to invite well-justified trade complaints under the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement," he says in a story on the AMI Web site. "Indeed, COOL included in the 2002 Farm Bill is likely to put us at odds with key allies and trading partners who happen to buy a lot of agricultural commodities from us."
R-CALF, meanwhile, condemns the stances of both AMI and NCBA as those of "agribusiness giants," and takes issue with the two groups' cooperation in opposing COOL.
"NCBA's action of joining forces with AMI to defeat reforms called for by thousands of U.S. cattle producers needs to be brought to the public's attention – including the fact that these two agribusiness giants both have meatpackers seated on their governing boards," says R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard.