FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2015
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (July 23, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called the introduction of today’s bipartisan compromise on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) the only path forward for food labeling and thanked Senators Stabenow, D-Michigan, Hoeven, R- North Dakota, and the other bill cosponsors for their hard work in fighting for a national policy on clear and honest food labeling for consumers and family farmers.
“This is the only politically viable means of preventing Congress from completely stripping away a clear national label for livestock born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S. by developing a clear, strong, and honest “made in the USA” label that consumers can ask for and trust,” said Johnson. “This compromise maintains integrity of the ‘Made in the USA’ brand and will prevent the packers from deliberately deceiving consumers as they have in the past,” he noted.
The Senate bill was introduced on the heels of the recent passage of the bill in the House of Representatives that completely repeals COOL for meat and poultry and a series of World Trade Organization (WTO) decisions that could eventually allow Canada and Mexico to retaliate against the U.S. if we fail to change the law.
“It’s a sad state of affairs that the WTO has stripped us of our sovereign right to label our food, but that is the reality of the current world we live in,” noted Johnson.
Johnson noted that it wasn’t easy for NFU to accept the loss of mandatory labeling, which it has pushed for over two decades, but also acknowledged that consumers and farmers will at least be left with a labeling option that has integrity. He also noted disappointment that Congress went beyond the scope of the WTO dispute and included repeal of mandatory labeling for chicken, ground beef and ground pork.
“Clearly, the loss of mandatory labeling, especially for food not included in the dispute, was a bitter pill to swallow, but this is truly the only path forward for those of us fighting for consumers who want to know where their food comes from and for America’s family farmers who are proud to provide it.”
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.