The MCOOL discussion heats up again
It’s been almost seven years since MCOOL was repealed, and you’ve probably heard that Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) is back on the table.
MCOOL has a long history of high polarization in the beef cattle industry, but with a new administration and an interesting mix of Congressmen bringing it back to the forefront, it is certainly attracting new eyes and new interest in the rule. labeling.
Earlier this month, Senators John Thune (R-SD), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced bipartisan legislation that would clarify how the beef is labeled in the United States.
The American Beef Labeling Act would reinstate MCOOL for beef and require the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with the United States Secretary of Agriculture, to develop a way to reinstate MCOOL that would be Organization compliant. World Trade Union (WTO) within one years. If USTR fails, MCOOL will automatically be restored.
Senators explain the American Beef Labeling Act
On the American Beef Labeling Act, Senator Tester said, “Montana ranchers raise the best cattle in the world, and it’s time American families had a right to know whether their beef is from Broadus or Brazil. With the announcement this week that there is another Mad Cow Disease outbreak in foreign meat, it is more important than ever for consumers to know when they are buying American beef at the supermarket. This bipartisan legislation will level the playing field for farmers and family ranchers in Montana and protect the health and safety of American families. “
Senator Thune said, “Transparency in labeling benefits both producers and consumers. Unfortunately, the current beef labeling system in this country allows imported beef that is neither born nor raised in the United States, but simply ended up here, to be labeled as a product of the United States. This process is unfair for livestock producers and misleading for consumers. When you see a “Product of USA” label on grocery store shelves, it should mean exactly that.
“South Dakota cattle ranchers work tirelessly to produce the highest quality beef in the world. The pandemic has only highlighted their important role in our national food supply and the urgent need to strengthen it. To ensure the viability of cattle farming in this country, the system in which producers operate must be fair and transparent. As a long-time supporter of MCOOL, I am proud to present this bill, which will take us one step further to make it a reality.
Senator Rounds said, “It is time to reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) once and for all. This is an important step in restoring market integrity for consumers and livestock producers. For too long, packers have skewed this market in their favor. Now we take it back. I thank my colleagues for helping to bring this important issue to consumers and livestock producers. I have said for a long time that consumers will have to lead and help lead this political debate. For those of us supporting MCOOL for Beef, this is just the start. The nine major cattle-producing states won’t do it alone. We need a national campaign to see this beyond the finish line.
And Senator Booker, who is an outspoken vegetarian and an interesting ally in this discussion, saidAmericans should know exactly where their beef comes from, but current USDA labeling practices allow large meat packers to falsely label imported beef as a product of the United States. I am proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan legislation that will restore mandatory country of origin labeling for all beef products and ensure fairness for our family farmers and ranchers.
The beef industry weighs
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said, “This Thune / Tester / Rounds / Booker MCOOL bill is absolutely necessary to restore competition in the domestic broken cattle and beef markets, marked by inflated beef prices paid by consumers and depressed cattle prices paid. to American cattle producers.
“It is only with MCOOL for beef that beef producers can compete in their own domestic market where packers and importers – not producers and consumers of cattle – currently decide how much foreign beef they want to buy. ‘They will import into the US market to displace domestic beef production and reduce demand for livestock. exclusively born and raised in the United States.
“We are deeply grateful to Senators Thune, Tester, Rounds and Booker for taking the initiative to represent the interests of their respective cattle-producing and beef-consuming constituents in bringing forward this critically important MCOOL bill.”
Meanwhile, Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told RFD-TV, “He failed to generate additional income for producers. This actually goes against allowing producers to differentiate their products in the market. We are doing so much work to increase regional processing capacity and provide producers with additional opportunities to regain some of that leverage in negotiations with slaughterhouses. It really discourages that. Not to mention, we know this is not a trade compliance solution.
“The legislation as drafted just says that the USTR must make it trade-compliant, but it offers no solution to achieve that. And in fact, he goes one step further and says that if they fail in this task, the law will come into force anyway. So they’re actually saying they’re okay with a billion dollars and retaliatory tariffs against the American cattle and beef industry, and we just don’t agree with that.
“We want to achieve more product differentiation for American beef – it’s a premium product! a new production that allows them to reach consumers in a unique way that generates more value.
And Justin Tupper, Vice President of the United States Cattlemen’s Association, told KRTV Great Falls, “It just makes common sense and consumers want to know where their product comes from. We know they are willing to pay for a product that they know is safe and comes from the United States and hard-working breeders. And now we have a bill that would bring us back to that. We don’t know yet what effect this will have on the livestock market, but I have to believe it will be positive.
“The spotlight has been on us and the industry to try to do something. Hats off to Thune and Tester for having the courage to push forward this mandatory country of origin labeling bill.
What do you think of MCOOL? Sound off in the comments section below.
Amanda Radke’s opinions are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.