The U.S. Senate passed a non-binding measure voicing support for implementing mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meat. The passage of this measure will not deter U.S. pork producers from continuing to voice their concerns about the unintended economic consequences of the law, says National Pork Producers Council president Jon Caspers.
“The Senate clearly was swayed by flawed arguments masquerading as concerns for American consumers,” says Caspers. “In reality, consumers are being sold a bill of goods that COOL will somehow provide them with assurances of safe food. If this law was really designed to provide consumers with information on the meat they purchase then why exempt poultry, food service and processed meats products? How come I can find out where my pork products came from at the grocery store but not at the McDonald’s restaurant down the street?”
Caspers says the Senate vote was a hollow victory for those advocating the consumer ‘right-to-know’ issue. “In the end, the costs of COOL are most certainly going to be passed on to consumers of fresh meats,” he says. “And independent pork producers, the very people who are supposed to benefit from this law, will be faced with going out of business.”
According to Caspers the Senate vote is not the end of the story. “Congress is still very divided on the issue of COOL, with the House squarely against the law and the Senate in favor,” he says. “Pork producers will be working with the conference committee, which is composed of House and Senate conferees, to resolve differences on this burdensome legislation and find a solution that doesn’t hurt our livelihoods.”
National Pork Producers Council