Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) called for a congressional resolution to "reinstate Country-of-Origin labeling for pork and beef to allow consumers to make an informed and free choice about where their food comes from."
Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) was passed by Congress in 2002 and required retailers to label country of origin of many food products, including meats.
Upon its 2013 implementation for beef, the COOL law mandated that the foreign labels on all imported beef be retained through retail sale. It also required all beef from animals slaughtered in the U.S. to be labeled as to where the animal had been born, raised and slaughtered.
"With these two essential provisions, consumers were accurately informed as to which beef originated exclusively in foreign countries, in one or more countries, and which beef was exclusively produced by U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers right here in the United States," said R-CALF USA COOL Committee Chair Mike Schultz.
COOL's implementation triggered a fight against the law by the trade group representing the largest U.S. beef packers, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), and the NCBA's counterparts in Canada and Mexico who, together, filed an unsuccessful lawsuit in an attempt to repeal the COOL law.
Though the lawsuit reaffirmed the constitutionality of COOL, the countries of Canada and Mexico, which did not want American consumers to know that significant volumes of beef sold in the U.S. was imported, succeeded in convincing the unelected and unappointed World Trade Organization (WTO) to rule that COOL for beef violated global trade rules.
In 2015, Congress repealed COOL for beef and pork. Since its repeal, consumers have been unable to differentiate foreign beef from U.S. beef and U.S. cattle producers have had trouble competing against an influx of foreign beef and cattle.
"Senator Tester's resolution calling on Congress to reinstate COOL for beef and pork is the start we have been waiting for to help us encourage Congress to once again provide us the tools we need to compete in our own domestic market," said Schultz.