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In just over one week, R-CALF’s petition to force mandatory country-of-origin labeling has drawn a quarter-million signatures.

Alan Newport, Editor, Beef Producer

May 5, 2020

2 Min Read
Flag with Made in USA label
A new petition asking the federal government for mandatory country-of-origin labeling is showing gumption.MicroStockHub-iStock-GettyImages

UPDATE: Intierest in this petion has continued to grow, with 334,053 signatures registered by Wednesday morning, May 5.

The group R-CALF USA launched a petition on April 23 urging the president and Congress to immediately pass mandatory country-of-origin labeling (mCOOL) for beef, pork and dairy products. One week later it had almost 275,000 signatures was still growing.

The petition can be viewed and/or signed at this webpage.

The concept of country-of-origin labeling seems to be growing in popularity among grassroots producers in recent months. However, it also appears the circumstances of the COVID-19 event, with closing slaughter plants, slaughter-animal depopulation and the threat of massive food waste, along the growing presence of imported meats, has really brought this sentiment out of the woodwork.

R-CALF USA is the acronym for Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America.

The 2002 Farm Bill, and later the 2008 Farm Bill, amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets, and club warehouse stores, to inform consumers of the country of origin of various meats, fish, shellfish, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and later some other commodities, including honey.

In 2011 and 2014, in response to complaints filed by Mexico and Canada, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled the U.S. COOL requirements were unfair and agreed to large tariffs by those trading partners against the U.S.

In December 2015 Congress repealed the original COOL law for beef and pork as a part of the omnibus budget bill.

R-CALF USA has continued to fight in favor of country of origin labeling, however.

“There is a handful of very powerful lobbying groups that have held the President and Congress at bay on this critically important initiative and our petition clearly shows that our government has been misled,” said Kerry Cramton, an R-CALF USA member and a Kansas cattle producer.

About the Author(s)

Alan Newport

Editor, Beef Producer

Alan Newport is editor of Beef Producer, a national magazine with editorial content specifically targeted at beef production for Farm Progress’s 17 state and regional farm publications. Beef Producer appears as an insert in these magazines for readers with 50 head or more of beef cattle. Newport lives in north-central Oklahoma and travels the U.S. to meet producers and to chase down the latest and best information about the beef industry.

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