Colorado Legislators Propose Stronger Version of COOL
Thursday, January 11, 2018
- As previously covered on this blog, mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) rules for beef products have long been the subject of controversy and challenge, culminating in: (1) a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the COOL requirements violate U.S. trade obligations to Canada and Mexico and (2) Congress repealing COOL as of December 21, 2015.
- Since then, some states have sought to require COOL labeling for beef within their states. For example, as previously reported on this blog, in 2017, Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado considered state-level COOL legislation, but in each case, the measures were defeated.
- Against this backdrop, on January 5, 2018, Colorado state legislators introduced a bill titled “Beef Country of Origin Recognition System” also referred to as the “Beef COORS bill.” If passed, the bill would require Colorado retailers to post signage informing consumers whether beef was derived exclusively from animals that were born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States, or whether the beef was imported or derived from imported animals.
- As states like Colorado continue their attempts to implement stronger versions of COOL at the behest of livestock producers, efforts to reinstate COOL at the federal level continues. For example, in November 2017, Public Justice, The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Fund (R-CALF), Food & Water Watch, and Farm Aid delivered the signatures of 37,299 Americans demanding that the Trump Administration follow through on its campaign promise to create a level playing field for independent domestic meat producers through increasing transparency for consumers, i.e., that COOL comprise a key element of the Administration’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations.
- Given the controversial nature of COOL requirements, it remains to seen whether we will see COOL implemented at the state or federal level.