Don’t take COOL away.
The Western View: COOL Repeal
Country Of Origin Labeling – or COOL for short – shouldn’t be controversial. Any farmer can tell you that the United States tightly regulates pesticide use, and other countries do not. This makes our food safer, but gives food from other countries a competitive advantage because they can use more powerful chemicals to grow food cheaper.
For that reason alone, it is unfair to our growers to not label the country of origin. Our growers are regulated better than elsewhere, and they deserve our support for assuring we have safe food to eat.
It’s equally unfair to the consumer. As a consumer, I demand the right to know where my food was grown, and to decide for myself whether or not to buy foreign food. I absolutely do not want food that was grown or processed outside the United States. It is my right and yours to know where our food is grown and processed.
However, it seems some people don’t agree with that. Canada opposed the U.S. requirement to label beef and pork, threatened a trade war, and went to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to complain. They agreed, and told the United States it was discriminating against Canada with country of origin labels. As a result, The U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove COOL requirements for meat. Jim Costa, among others, supported the removal, saying that COOL has nothing to do with food safety.
This is amazing on so many levels. First off, how is it discriminatory to identify where a cow was born and raised? Second, are we really going to change a U.S. law at the demand of the WTO? Third, do you really think COOL has nothing to do with food safety? And, if we lose COOL on beef, what else will we lose the right to know?
Mr. Costa, our farmers deserve country of origin labels. But also, I demand the right to know where my food comes from. Don’t take that right away.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.