U.S. Sens. Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Mike Enzi (Wyo.) called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk to uphold mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) as the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process moves forward. Johnson and Enzi, together with a bipartisan group of 24 colleagues, are fighting to ensure that no changes are made to the program that might contradict the intent of Congress.
"The COOL requirements agreed to by Congress provide choice to the American consumer in the grocery store aisle and would finally let them know where their food comes from," said Johnson. "We have come a long way in making sure that COOL is properly implemented, and we cannot stop now. More than 45 other countries have implemented origin labeling programs for food, and we cannot let the United States fall further behind."
"COOL is what the American people want and have been waiting on for years. It is a good law that is on par with what over 45 other nations have on the books. I will continue fighting for food labeling," said Enzi.
The WTO recently agreed to establish a panel to examine the United States' rules for COOL implementation following a second request by Canada and Mexico to review the requirements. WTO process requires consensus for blocking a second panel request. The selection process for the panel is continuing, and they are not expected to issue a ruling until next year.