Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL)

Our Message

The message of Farmers Union, and those in support of COOL, focuses on consumer rights and a ranchers ability to differentiate their product in the marketplace. We argue that it is the consumer’s right to know where their food comes from. 

Moreover, ranchers are proud to tell the consumer that their meat products are born and raised American products. Surveys by numerous organizations have repeatedly shown that consumers support COOL, with some counts as high as 95%! When COOL was threatened by a WTO ruling, over 200 consumer, farm, ranch, rural and community groups signed on to a letter supporting COOL.

See the difference? We believe AMERICAN CITIZENS, not the business sector, have the right to dictate AMERICAN POLICY. We believe AMERICAN CITIZENS have the right to know where the food they eat comes from. That’s why we have labeling laws on products like fruits, vegetables, nuts and more.  We even have labeling laws for the shirts on our backs. Why shouldn’t the meat we eat be held to the same standard? Especially considering that more than 60 other countries and the European Union have adopted similar, and in some cases more strict, labeling laws. American products are being labeled in countries around the world, but are no longer labeled here at home. Think about that.

Find out more about COOL here:

COOL In The News 

  • Brazil Meat Scandal Fuels Calls for U.S. Ban on Brazilian Raw Beef. Click here
  • S.D. Farmers Union President Urges Trump to Reinstate COOL for Public Health Reasons. Click here
  • USDA on Tainted Brazilian Meat: None Has Entered U.S., 100 Percent Re-Inspection Instituted. Click here
  • S.D. Farmers Union President says Proposed New Language Ventures too Far from Policy of Country of Origin Labeling Click here
  • South Dakota Farmers Union joins with National Farmers Union Assures Senate There Remains a Viable Path Forward to Save The Law, Satisfy WTO. Click here
  • Farmers Union Urges Noem to Speak Out Against Repeal of COOL. Click here
  • Letter to the Editor: Keeping COOL Under Pressure. Click here
  • South Dakota Farmers Union Supports COOL Locally & in D.C. Click here


COOL Fact Sheet

COOL provides consumers with information they care about. A May 2013 public opinion poll showed more than 90 percent of consumers support COOL.

COOL is strongly supported by America’s farmers and ranchers, who are proud of what they produce.

 COOL does not restrict imports in any way. Instead, it informs consumers about where certain products were sourced and allows consumers to make informed decisions about the food they eat.

Despite strong public support, the U.S. meat industry has tried to stop implementation of COOL, but those efforts have been rejected by U.S. courts on four separate occasions.

COOL is currently being challenged by Mexico and Canada in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO in October ruled that COOL fulfills the legitimate objective of informing consumers about the origins of their food, but that the implementation of the law remains unbalanced between consumer information and production costs. The USDA is expected to appeal the WTO decision in early 2015.

Efforts to “reform” COOL in Congress are veiled attempts to gut the law. Opponents of COOL are pressing for a “Made in North America” label that would give consumers less, not more, information about a product’s country of origin.

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