Westerman on COOL: "Allows Arkansas agriculture and livestock to fairly compete"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) released the following statement following his vote to approve a repeal of Country of Origin Labeling:
“Today, I joined my colleagues in the House to vote for legislation that would be a benefit to livestock producers in the Fourth District,” Westerman said. “The bill would repeal current Country of Origin Labeling requirements under U.S. law. It is good for the livestock industry, and keeps American agriculture on a level playing field with Canada and Mexico. This legislation will keep prices down at the grocery store, puts America in compliance with international trade agreements, and allows Arkansas agriculture and livestock to fairly compete with our North American neighbors.”
Under current legislation, Country of Origin Labeling violates World Trade Organization obligations, with the organization ruling that labeling discriminates against imported livestock. Requiring segregation of animals by country of origin results in higher food costs. According to the Agricultural Marketing Service, enforcement of Country of Origin provisions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reportedly cost the livestock and meat industry approximately $2.4 billion upon implementation of its first set of regulations in 2009.
Companies may voluntarily continue country of origin labeling on livestock, pork, and poultry raised in the United States. The repeal of mandatory country of origin labeling simply removes the government mandate.