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10 COOL Things the House Agriculture Committee Got Wrong

Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA’s CEO Bill Bullard restates the House Agriculture Committee’s 10 COOL “things” asserted in the Committee’s official government news release and he provides a factual rebuttal to each.

‘COOL Is Not About Food Safety Or Traceability.’

“Yes it is. The U.S. Court of Appeals researched the Congressional Record and found that food safety interests were among the reasons Congress passed COOL.”

‘COOL is costly for producers, retailers, and consumers.’

“COOL helped producers recover their lost market share that was previously captured by packers and retailers. Also, consumer demand increased nearly 12 points since COOL’s implementation.

‘There Is No Increase In Consumer Demand For Origin Labeling Information As A Result Of COOL.’

“Market data show that COOL helped domestic beef demand recover from its downward spiral even while consumers were paying supply-induced, record prices for beef.”

‘Consumers interested in country of origin information are not willing to pay more for it.’

“Yes they are. The U.S. Court of Appeals referenced a survey that found that 71-73 percent of consumers would be willing to pay for country-of-origin information about their food.”

‘The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the U.S. (four) times.’

“This is true. But, it was expected given the conflicts of interest that predispose the WTO to faulting COOL. First, the WTO advocates against country-specific labels and for its own ‘Made in the World’ labeling initiative. Second, Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández - a Mexican national who represented Mexico in international trade litigation - presided as an appellate jurist in both of the U.S. COOL appeals before the WTO.”

‘Canada and Mexico are expected to retaliate should the WTO rule against the U.S. in the coming days.’

“The dispute process is not over. Canada and Mexico must now go through a proceeding to prove damages before the WTO can authorize retaliation.

‘Retaliation Could Hurt Much More Than Just The Agriculture Industry.’

“It will be difficult for Canada and Mexico to prove any substantive damages given the recent Auburn University study that found the financial harms attributed to COOL were actually caused by the global recession and by the cattle procurement practices of multinational meatpackers.”

‘U.S. trade relationships could be damaged as a result of COOL.’

“The U.S. is the most important market for Canadian and Mexican products. Canada relies on the U.S. to purchase 77% of Canada’s annual exports. It would be illogical for Canada or Mexico to cause a serious strain on their U.S. trading relationships.”

‘Congress Must Be Prepared To Act Quickly.’

“Congress should not take any action right now. Doing so would constitute a surrender of the United States’ right to pursue all available options before deciding to cede any of its sovereignty – in this case its constitutional right to inform consumers as to the origins of their food.”

‘More than 100 American and international businesses and organizations do not support COOL.’

“However, 207 groups recently sent a letter to Congress expressing strong support for COOL. Additionally, a 2014 Consumer Reports survey found that 90% of consumers support COOL.”

This is a condensed version. For a full version, visit http://www.r-calfusa.com and click on COOL.

Mark your calendars for this year’s annual convention: Aug. 14-15, 2015 in Denver, Colo.

R-CALF USA is solely funded by donations and membership dues. Please consider becoming a member or giving a donation. For more info or to join, go to http://www.r-calfusa.com, 406-252-2516.

 

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