Public Justice, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Fund, Food & Water Watch, and Farm Aid have delivered the signatures of 37,299 Americans – demanding that the Commerce Department and the Trump Administration more generally follow through on the campaign promise to create a level playing field for independent domestic meat producers through increasing transparency for consumers. These signatories have asked that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross make Country of Origin Labeling – COOL – a part of the administration’s trade policies.
Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture ceased requiring COOL on pork and beef products in 2016, those products have been classified as “domestic” even when they are slaughtered in other countries and imported into the United States, a practice which confuses consumers and harms American farmers. More than 450 million pounds of beef is raised and butchered annually in other countries and then imported to the United States in nearly exactly the form it will be sold to consumers. Yet under current government policies, domestic processors can rip off the country-of-origin labels that are on the meat when it crosses the border and apply a “Product of U.S.A.” sticker before it is sold to consumers.