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Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL)

Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rules require most retailers to provide country-of-origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, meat and poultry. This issue is of concern to the U.S. dairy sector because of potential retaliation against U.S. dairy exports.

Less than one year after the COOL rules took effect, both Canada and Mexico challenged the rule for muscle cuts of meat at the World Trade Organization (WTO), arguing that COOL has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market. In 2014, the WTO ruled against the United States with regard to COOL. This ruling could allow Mexico and Canada to retaliate with high tariffs on a wide variety of U.S. agricultural imports, including U.S. cheese.

IDFA believes that COOL requirements need to be reformed to ensure the United States is compliant with international trade obligations. IDFA is a member of the COOL Reform Coalition urging immediate congressional intervention to bring the United States into compliance on COOL.

In late May, the House Agriculture Committee approved a bill, co-sponsored by more than 50 House members, to repeal the COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken. The bipartisan legislation was passed out of the House Agriculture Committee with overwhelming support (vote tally: 38-6).

On June 10, the House passed H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Amendments Act of 2015 (vote tally: 300-131).

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a hearing on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) on Thursday, June 25.

IDFA press releases:
"U.S. Dairy Companies Urge Congress to Act Now to Reform COOL and Protect American Jobs", May 18, 2015


For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at bhughes@idfa.org.