NFU to USDA: Reject COOL Rule Extension Request01 October 2013
US - National Farmers Union (NFU), the US Cattlemen’s Association, Consumer Federation of America (CFA), and American Sheep Industry Association sent a letter to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman last week (Friday, 27 September) urging USDA to reject an extension to the implementation of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).
"The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) followed a carefully considered, open and transparent process as it crafted this rule," the letter stated. "We believe the rule complies with the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling and is consistent with US law. We strongly support it and your efforts to defend it."
This letter was prompted by a recent letter to USDA and USTR from packer-producer organizations and foreign interests seeking to postpone the enforcement of the updated COOL regulations that went into effect 23 May 2013. The regulations provided a six-month grace period for companies to come into compliance with the rules, and that period has not yet ended.
In a recent ruling, the US District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the preliminary injunction request for a delay of implementation because the court found that the plaintiffs had not established a likelihood of success on their claims that the revised COOL regulation violates the first amendment or that the revised regulation exceeds the agency’s authority, among other findings.
"Farmers, ranchers and consumers have waited too long for meaningful Country-of-Origin Labeling standards and we strongly urge USDA to enforce those regulations which have been carefully scrutinized and revised and that will bring the United States into compliance with its WTO obligations," the letter stated. "The revised regulations published by USDA will provide consumers with enhanced information that will reduce the confusion about the food they buy."
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