R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement in response to Congress’ inclusion of language in the must-pass omnibus spending bill that would repeal country-of- origin labeling (COOL) for beef, pork and ground beef and ground pork:
“In the most underhanded way, Congress is depriving all of us of our right to know where the beef or pork we feed ourselves, our children and our grandchildren was born, raised and slaughtered.
“In secret and without debate, congressional leaders added the repeal of COOL in a must-pass spending bill knowing they could accomplish their self-serving ends without the risk of public input or debate. In the spending bill, the provision that destroys our COOL law cannot be amended or removed.
“This is government at its worst. Congressional leaders are helping the politically powerful multinational meatpackers to hide the origins of the beef they are importing from Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and the other countries that are among the 14 countries from where the meatpackers source their beef for the U.S. market.
“Many consumers and cattle producers have been duped by the meatpackers. Consumers were told that beef from developing countries is just as safe as beef from the U.S., but the truth is that developing countries are no longer required to have food safety systems at least equal to those of the United States.
“Cattle producers were told that labeling beef is an unnecessary expense, but the truth is that U.S. cattle producers cannot compete in the global marketplace if consumers cannot distinguish their beef from the beef imported by multinational meatpackers from the 14 countries that currently ship beef into the United States.
“Congress is forsaking consumers and producers by terminating the right of U.S. citizens to know the origins of their food.”
“We urge members of Congress to demand that the COOL repeal language be removed from the spending bill. If it is not removed then we will urge the President to veto the measure.”
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.