Vilsack on Product of USA Versus COOL

“These guys have no problem with that. Why? Because the cattle come from their farms goes to a local locker, it comes back to them, they butcher it, they sell it, they know they can tell you precisely what farm it came from maybe even the day it came from, what was fed and so forth. So they can slap a label there and say, ‘By God, this is not only just a product of the US, this is product of Larson farms, this is product of the Driver family so that we want to create clarity.”

Vilsack added, “And we think with clarity, we don’t get ourselves in a lot of trouble with the international trading regime, because we don’t want to do that, we don’t want retaliation against our farmers. But we can give consumers more clarity. And we are intent on doing that.”

A participant noted the mandatory Country of Origin Label (COOL) was shot down by the World Trade Organization when Canada and Mexico sued, leading Congress to repeal the law.

“The difference was it was mandatory. We tried to do as a mandatory level. This is not a mandatory label, this is voluntary label. And this is basically defining what that means, Ok? It’s not basically saying you have to do this. It’s saying if you do it, here’s what this has to be. And if you can’t prove that, it’s that, then you shouldn’t be allowed to put the label on it, because then you’re creating a misrepresentation, or lack of clarity about this product. And that’s not fair. And it’s very consistent with what the Federal Trade Commission is trying to do with everything else. Cars, equipment, everything else.”

More details on USDA’s competition announcement:…

Chris Clayton can be reached at

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