National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson applauded today’s decision by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to appeal the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) for family farmers, ranchers, and consumers. Johnson also urged Congress to leave the popular labeling law alone and allow the WTO process to run its course.
“The decision today by the USTR to appeal the WTO ruling on COOL is the right thing to do for American family farmers, ranchers and consumers,” said Johnson. “The October WTO ruling found once again that the COOL law is WTO-compliant and acknowledged that the May 2013 USDA regulations were a significant improvement in terms of providing more accurate information to consumers. Nonetheless, the WTO incorrectly found the rules were noncompliant and an appeal is the obvious course of action.”
Johnson noted that the popular sentiment towards the labeling law shared by family farmers and consumers is not echoed by large international meatpackers, who continually try to pressure Congress to repeal the law.
“The multinational meatpacking industry continues to urge Congress to repeal COOL laws before the WTO process runs its course,” said Johnson. “These are inappropriate attempts to prevent consumers from having access to basic information about their food. Congress should ignore these scare tactics and allow the WTO process to play out before acting prematurely.”
“American consumers have been crystal clear that they want to know where their food comes from and family farmers and ranchers are proud to provide it,” said Johnson. “The decision by the USTR to appeal the WTO’s erroneous finding demonstrates full support for American family farmers, ranchers and consumers.”