May 28, 2024

Coalition Supporting COOL Change Sends Letter to Congress

Last week a U.S. District Court of Appeals refused to rehear the country-of-origin (COOL) labeling dispute between the United States and the World Trade Organization, effectively making COOL the law of the land. After this decision, stakeholders known as COOL Reform Coalition sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to “immediately authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to rescind elements of COOL that have been deemed to be non-compliant with international trade obligations.”

Label on MeatsThat coalition is comprised of organizations such as Hormel Foods, ConAgra, Cargill, National Beef Packing Company, Smithfield Foods, Abbott, Anheuser-Busch, Archer Daniels Midland, Nestle USA, Nestle Waters North America, Unilever, Tyson Foods, and the North American Meat Association. They are concerned that expensive tariffs will be placed on U.S. exports in retaliation for COOL regulations.

The letter states that Canada has issued a preliminary retaliation list targeting commodities and products that are produced in every state in the U.S. Mexico hasn’t issued a list yet, but has implemented retaliatory tariffs in the past.

The coalition states that it would be “intolerable” for the U.S. to maintain a rule that is non-compliant according to the WTO. It takes time for Congress to act, so since the final adjudication could happen early next year, asking the Secretary of Agriculture to rescind cool would be the fastest route.

Consumer advocates and other organizations, including food safety advocates, support COOL because they say that consumers have the right to know where the food they buy comes from. Beef exported from Canada was recalled last year for E. coli O157:H7 contamination and linked to an outbreak in Canada, and produce exported from Mexico has been linked to several outbreaks in the U.S., including a Cyclospora outbreak last year that sickened 304 Americans.


  1. COOL is cool. As consumers we have a right to know from where are food is coming. To combat the so called disadvantage products have by indicating it was made in another country, that country needs to put regulations and controls in place similar to the US and work on letting that be known. And If I prefer to support US business by buying US products that is my right, too.

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