Ag groups and food companies seek recall of COOL meat rules

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2014 - More than 100 agriculture-related companies and organizations are asking Congress to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to immediately rescind the meat provisions of the country-of-origin labeling rules that the World Trade Organization said are non-compliant with international trade obligations.

Failing to do so - and embarking on a lengthy appeal process -- would expose a wide variety of U.S. exports to retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico, resulting in “serious economic harm to U.S. firms and farmers,” the signees to the letter said. They include the American Feed Industry Association, Anheuser-Busch, the American Meat Institute, the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and the Grocery Manufacturers Association

“It is expected that U.S. industries would suffer billions in lost sales if retaliation is allowed,” according to the letter.

A WTO compliance panel ruled on Oct. 20 that the U.S. regulations requiring meat labels to specify where an animal was born, raised, and slaughtered violated global trade rules because Canadian and Mexican livestock received “less favorable treatment than that accorded to like U.S. livestock.”

The panel found that action from USDA to bring meat rules into WTO compliance last year increased the original COOL rule's “detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities of imported livestock in the U.S. market.” The ruling went on to say the updated COOL rule “necessitates increased segregation of meat and livestock according to origin; entails a higher recordkeeping burden; and increases the original COOL measures incentive to choose domestic over imported livestock.”

In their letter to Congress, the companies and organizations said that it would be “intolerable, even briefly,” for the U.S. to maintain the rule, “given the negative impact on the U.S. manufacturing and agriculture economies.”

They also maintain that Congress, in directing the Agriculture Secretary to rescind the provisions in question, “would not undermine COOL to the extent COOL is consistent with international trade obligations nor would it weaken the U.S. defense of COOL in WTO litigation.”

The letter was signed by the following organizations and companies:

Abbott

Agri Beef Co.

Altrius Group, LLC

American Bakers Association

American Beverage Association

American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, A.C.

American Feed Industry Association

American Frozen Food Institute

American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition

American Meat Institute
American Peanut Product Manufacturers, Inc.



American Seed Trade Association

Lets Talk Food

American Soybean Association

Anheuser-Busch

Animal Health Institute

Appvion

Archer Daniels Midland

Auto Care Association

California Chamber of Commerce

California Cherry Export Association

California Pear Growers Association

California Table Grape Commission

Campbell Soup Company

Cargill, Incorporated

The Coca-Cola Company

ConAgra Foods, Inc.

Consumer Electronics Association

Corn Refiners Association

Dart Container Corporation

Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT)

Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association

Food & Consumer Products of Canada

Food Marketing Institute

General Mills

Georgia Food Industry Association

Glanbia USA

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Hawaii Food Industry Association

Herbalife Ltd.

The Hershey Company

Hills & Company

Hilmar Cheese Company Inc.

H.J. Heinz Company

Hormel Foods Corporation

Independent Bakers Association

Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

Ingredion Incorporated

International Dairy Foods Association

International Franchise Association

International Sleep Products Association

Kellogg Company

Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
The Latino Coalition

Leprino Foods Company

Louisiana Retailers Association

Mars, Incorporated

Metals Service Center Institute

Midwest Food Processors Association

Mondelez Global LLC

National Association of Egg Farmers

National Association of Manufacturers

National Beef Packing Co., LLC

National Cattlemen's Beef Association

National Confectioners Association

National Corn Growers Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Foreign Trade Council

National Grain and Feed Association

National Grocers Association

National Oilseed Processors Association

National Pork Producers Council

National Renderers Association

National Retail Federation

Nestlé USA

Nestlé Waters North America
North American Equipment Dealers Association

North American Export Grain Association

North American Meat Association

Northwest Food Processors Association

Northwest Horticultural Council

NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies

Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association

Penford Products Co.

Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association

PepsiCo

Pet Food Institute

Produce Marketing Association

Red Gold, Inc.

Remy International, Inc.

Roquette America

Sargento Foods Inc.

The Schwan Food Company

Smithfield Foods

Snack Food Association

Sweetener Users Association

Tate & Lyle Americas

Transportation Intermediaries Association

Tyson Foods, Inc.

Unilever

United Egg Producers

United Producers, Inc.

United States Council for International Business

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Premium Beef

USA Rice Federation

The Walter Bagehot Council

WineAmerica

Wine Institute

 

#30

 

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