Billings, Mont. – Yesterday, Senators John Hoeven (R-N. Dak.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N. Mex.) joined Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Rounds, (R-S.D.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in cosponsoring the “American Beef Labeling Act of 2021” (S.2716), that reinstates mandatory country-of-origin labeling (M-COOL) for beef.
Originally passed in the 2002 Farm Bill and amended in the 2008 Farm Bill, the current M-COOL law requires consumers be informed of the country-of-origin of fresh fruits and raw vegetables, fish, shellfish, lamb, chicken, goat meat, venison, peanuts, pecans, ginseng, and macadamia nuts.
“We are grateful for the ongoing bipartisan support for this important legislation as evidenced by Senator Hoeven and Senator Luján’s recent co-sponsorship of the M-COOL bill,” said R-CALF USA Bill Bullard who added, “Beef simply should not be excluded from the law that currently requires many other food items to be labeled as to their origin.”
While the original law included both muscle cuts and ground beef and pork, Congress removed beef and pork products from the M-COOL law in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, in response to an adverse ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The M-COOL legislation specifically directs the U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Agriculture to determine the means of reinstating beef in the current M-COOL law in a manner that complies with WTO rules. If such means are not implemented within 12 months of the legislation’s enactment, the legislation will take effect on the 1-year anniversary date.
“We believe this common-sense legislation that informs consumers as to the origins of the beef they purchase is vitally important to American consumers, farmers and ranchers, and workers and we look forward to its eventual passage by Congress,” Bullard concluded.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516 for more information.