Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) doesn’t provide benefits to consumers, according to the USDA’s chief economist. A report from the USDA was sent to Congress last Friday, May 1, 2015. The report was mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill.
The report states that “In terms of consumers, USDA’s regulatory impact analyses concluded that while there is evidence of consumer interest in COOL information, measurable economic benefits from mandatory COOL would be small. USDA’s regulatory impact analyses also found little evidence that consumers are likely to increase their purchased of food items bearing U.S.-origin labels.” However, the report did recognize the interest in labeling based on the consumer’s right to know what they are purchasing.
The World Trade Organization has ruled against the United States time and again on COOL regulations. The U.S. has appealed the WTO rulings every time. This last appeal may really be the last. If the government loses, Congress may repeal COOL, even though polls have shown overwhelming consumer support for labeling, whether it be GMO-related or country of origin.