New Consumer Poll Shows Strong Support For COOL Rule

 USCA-  The United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) says a new consumer survey released this week by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) shows strong support among consumers for country of origin labeling (COOL) as well as strong support for the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) approach to resolving the COOL dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO).  The survey was conducted by ORC International May 9 - 12, 2013.

Ninety percent of the 1000 adults surveyed favored requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country of origin of fresh meat they sell.  Eighty-seven percent of adults surveyed favor requiring food sellers to indicate on the label the country or countries in which various production steps take place including where animals are born, raised and processed.  

As a response to a WTO ruling in a complaint lodged by Canada and Mexico against the United States, USDA has published proposed amendments to COOL implementation rules that will provide increased labeling information for consumers. The WTO Appellate Body's ruling upheld the right of the United States to require origin labeling, but found that the labeling information being provided under the program limited consumer benefits because insufficient consumer information was being provided.  Under a WTO agreement, the U.S. has until May 23 to come into compliance with the ruling.  Earlier this year, USDA published its amended rules which USCA supports. 

USCA's COOL Committee Chairwoman, Danni Beer, Keldron, SD said, "This unbiased, independent survey provides us with credible information demonstrating a very high level of support from consumers for labeling and for increased information on meat labels.  Survey results also validate USDA's approach to resolving issues raised in the WTO ruling.  USCA has stated all along that resolutions to the WTO challenge are relatively easy to achieve and the Secretary of Agriculture, with his amended rule, has done so.  We extend our gratitude to CFA for conducting this much-needed survey."

USCA President Jon Wooster, San Lucas, CA said, "This new survey has been released at the perfect time with the May 23 deadline approaching.  It is proof that consumers not only want their meat labeled as to origin but they also approve of USDA's proposed resolutions.  I urge individuals and groups to reference this survey as we move forward with issues surrounding COOL in the development of farm policy legislation.  As the 2013 Farm Bill proceeds in Congress, COOL opponents will seize any opportunity to undermine the program as already evidenced by the inclusion of marker language in the House version of the Farm Bill.  This new consumer survey should put to rest any question about what consumers want.  We thank CFA for undertaking this consumer poll."  

The survey results are available here and the survey methodology is available here.

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