Mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) took effect on September 30, 2008. COOL requires retailers to provide consumers with country-of-origin information for all covered commodities, including meat products. Live animals are NOT covered commodities but are processed into covered commodities. Therefore, packers need information such as written statements from producers, animal identification program documentation or import markings on the animals to determine origin. Retailers may rely upon affidavits/declarations from their suppliers to determine the origin of covered commodities. COOL is not a food safety tool.
TCFA opposes mandatory COOL. Since implementation, COOL has cost U.S., Mexican and Canadian cattle producers hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue with no discernible return benefit. Mandatory COOL has not produced an incentive for U.S. origin cattle as proponents promised. In fact, it has done the complete opposite, adding unnecessary costs throughout the production chain, confusing consumers and antagonizing Canada and Mexico, the two largest importers of U.S. beef.