The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to amend the Country of Origin Labeling regulations to require more detailed country of origin information on meat labels, including where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
For example, for animals exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S., current labeling requirements would be changed from “Product of the U.S.” to “Born, Raised and Slaughtered in the U.S.”
The USDA is proposing the changes to labeling requirements in response to a 2012 World Trade Organization ruling that the U.S. labeling law treats imported meat less favorably than domestic meat, but also said the changes will benefit consumers. The U.S. has until May 23 to comply with the WTO ruling.
The agency is seeking comments on the proposal, which must be received on or before April 11, 2013. They should be submitted online under docket number AMS_FRDOC_0001 or by email or mail.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has criticized the proposal.
“NCBA has maintained that there is no regulatory fix that can be put in place to bring the current COOL rule into compliance with our WTO obligation or that will satisfy our top two trading partners, Mexico and Canada,” said Scott George, president of NCBA and a cattleman from Cody, Wyo., in a written statement. “With the amended rule, the USDA has proven that to be true. The proposed amendments will only further hinder our trading relationships with our partners, raise the cost of beef for consumers and result in retaliatory tariffs being placed on our export products.”