The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to repeal the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Amendments Act of 2015 for meat--specifically beef, chicken and pork. The bill, spearheaded by Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), passed with a vote of 300-131 late Wednesday evening.
The COOL Act requires that meat packaging sold in the U.S. must display a few pieces of crucial information:
- where the animals are born, raised and ultimately slaughtered
- whether or not any of those steps occurred in different countries
The bill was originally introduced in May on the same day the World Trade Organization (WTO) shot down a U.S. appeal of their stance that COOL favors domestically sourced meat while unreasonably singling out meat imported from countries like Canada and Mexico.
Conaway believes that the COOL program doesn’t work, saying that “it is time to put this failed experiment behind us once and for all.” He and other representatives stand firm that meat labeling has zero impact on food safety.
The repeal is a win for the U.S. meat industry having already experienced some strain in relation to the COOL Act. Supporters of the repeal are also pleased to not have to endure retaliatory taxing by Canada and Mexico in the tune of $3.6 billion which the WTO authorized to go into effect within 60 days of the final ruling.
The repeal of the act is a loss for consumers though, one of the main groups that supports country-of-origin labeling simply for informational purposes. House Democrats are ready to move on, saying that while the COOL Act had good intentions, the WTO has rejected it four times. Therefore, repealing it and moving on is in everyone’s best interest.
The WTO will convene yet again next week to consider Canada and Mexico’s plans for retaliatory taxes imposed on the U.S.