NCBA favors voluntary COOL

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The USDA’s  new proposed rule for country of origin labeling (COOL) will just create more problems for the U.S. beef industry, says NCBA President Elect Bob McCan, a cattleman from Victoria, Texas. Speaking on NCBA’s “Beltway Beef” audio program, McCan says there is no regulatory fix to bring our COOL rules into compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.

The proposed rule would require labels on muscle cuts of beef and other meats to specify where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, and would remove the allowance for commingling of muscle cuts. These provisions, McCan says, will increase costs for processors and retailers which in turn will increase the price of beef for our consumers.

McCan says the rule, as proposed, could lead to serious retaliatory trade measures from Canada and Mexico, our two largest export customers for U.S. beef. Those countries, which filed the complaint with the WTO over COOL, accounted for over $1 billion in U.S. beef exports in 2012.

NCBA believes country of origin labeling should be entirely voluntary, McCan says, adding that Mandatory COOL has been onerous for the industry since it became law in 2009.

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pa  |  March, 13, 2013 at 09:49 AM

Doesn't Canada already have COOL for meat? Why can't we then do the same thing! Seems as usual tail wagging the dog with NCBA.

March, 14, 2013 at 08:53 AM

Yes we do have it.

Wyoming  |  March, 13, 2013 at 10:00 AM

I wonder how much increase in cost to consumers would be? Has there been any projections? Any detailed studies? I am sure some of the arguements against mandatory COOL were used by some at an earlier time in our nation's history..................."establishing a mimimun wage will surely drive up cost for the consumer."

Montana  |  March, 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM

It really makes me mad that we have to pay the beef checkoff which funds roughly 70% of the NCBA's budget and then they cannot stand up for US beef, and take the US beef packers side 100% of the time.

SD  |  March, 14, 2013 at 06:54 PM

First, COOL is the 'brainchild' of R-CALF. Flawed by their insistence that it be ONLY country of origin, NOT ranch of origin. Possible 'motive' to give consumers a way to assure they were getting ONLY beef "bred, born, fed, and processed in the USA". There is no prohibition from individuals and processors to do that with their own label. But those processors would bear all the costs. R-CALF wanted ALL of us to bear those costs. Silly fact: there are companies and individuals who DO that with their own branded beef product, so it is available to consumers who want it, and that has been the case since long before the 'birth' of COOL. Another of those inconvenient facts: NCBA Policy/dues division does NOT get any Beef Checkoff money. The Federation of State Beef Councils is a group of state beef councils believing that they can get more for their STATE portion of the Checkoff Dollar by spending it on the national level and CHOOSES to partipate with additional money of existing Beef Checkoff projects and NCBA get the contract for that work. FACT most often denied by people who don't know, or will not accept the fact: NCBA does NOT make any money on contracts for the Beef Checkoff. Those contracts are on a cost recovery only basis. That doesn't stop some from making false claims, but claims just can't change the facts, either.

Wyoming  |  March, 14, 2013 at 08:31 PM

Maxine, those are some facts that I never have heard before. However, I don't understand your logic on the NCBA not making any money on contracts for the beef checkoff. Don't the checkoff dollars generated go to the NCBA to be used in a correct manner. Where does the cash come from to run the NCBA? Last I looked it comes from the checkoff dollar. Maybe you are saying that the NCBA does not make a profit? However, I don't feel the NCBA is using the checkoff dollar wisely. When was the last time you saw a beef ad in a NON-AG. ORIENTED periodical? I always see the beef ads in beef or farm magazines. NCBA needs to quit preaching to the choir. I don't support the checkoff, but I have to since everyone is in the same boat. I would like to know how much money is wasted in administration at the NCBA. If you have any answers let me know, I'm listening. As for COOL, NCBA has and always will play second fiddle to the packers. NCBA needs to get the "good old boys club" out of the NCBA. Put some people in who will use resources wisely. I guess the NCBA maybe a notch up in common sense compared to the federal govt., but it needs to change for the better. thanks, eric

Nebraska  |  March, 14, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Maxine You should study a little more on the checkoff. State Beef Councils send $10 million to the federation, by the way the federation doesn't have a checkbook, so those State Beef Councils write a check to NCBA. In 2010 the federation budget put $4.1 million toward checkoff projects, $2.5 to implementation cost, $500,000 to governance, $500,000 to federation relations and $2.7 million in reserve. Only 40% went to projects. If the State Beef Councils were to send that $10 million to CBB 95% would go to projects.

Wisconsin  |  March, 15, 2013 at 09:19 AM

How can we have COOL, and really honestly verify 100% country of origin without a traceability system like NAIS? You need to have both or COOL is just an honor system certification. Why push for half the solution to the problem of documenting product origin. That's just half-assed.

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