Posted June 25, 2015
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) released a draft proposal which would remove beef and pork mandatory labeling provisions under Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and put a completely voluntary Product of the U.S. label in its place, according to a Feedstuffs article available here. Agri-Pulse also published an article available here. A recent COOL blog post is available here.
Stabenow said she hopes her proposal offers a pathway forward on COOL following a May World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling which found the United States out of compliance again.
“This proposal offers a viable alternative and I look forward to discussing it at our hearing and with my colleagues in the Senate as we work to come to agreement on a bipartisan solution,” she said.
House Agriculture Mike Conaway, R-Texas, rejected Stabenow’s proposal. He said he would continue to insist on full repeal of the law. A voluntary labeling program is OK but only as long as it is run by the industry and not subject to requirements of the law, according to Agri-Pulse.
“If there’s teeth in it, if there’s requirements in it … we’re not going to do that. A voluntary program that’s strictly run by the industries, that’s fine with me,” he said. 
The North American Meat Institute continues to support his strategy. “The real opinions that count about this bill are those of the Canadian and Mexican governments,” said their president and CEO, Barry Carpenter. “Change that doesn’t satisfy our trading partners or the WTO still results in billions in tariffs.”
For more information, a copy of the legislation is available here.
For more information on Country of Origin Labeling, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.