WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Wednesday’s voice vote by the House of Representatives to repeal country of origin labeling was the result of members of Congress bowing to pressure from the international meatpackers and the big business lobby. Americans overwhelmingly want to know where their food comes from and country of origin labeling (COOL) provides this commonsense information to consumers.
“For the first time in history, the House of Representatives has caved into threats from the World Trade Organization and repealed a U.S. law before the trade challenge to the law was even completed. This craven capitulation to meatpacker interests will embolden other countries to bring absurd claims to foreign trade tribunals as a way to get Congress to wipe out U.S. laws and regulations.
“The House used the excuse of the WTO dispute to gut COOL and serve the interests of the meatpackers who don’t want consumers to know what they are eating. The bill passed today in the House even repealed WTO-legal labels on ground beef and labels on chicken that were not challenged at all in the WTO case brought by Canada and Mexico.
“Canada and Mexico have threatened to impose billions of dollars in penalties over COOL, but the WTO has not authorized these penalties and that phase of the dispute has yet to begin. Members of Congress who voted to repeal COOL should be ashamed; not only have they sold out American consumers but they are encouraging foreign nations to challenge and undermine other U.S. laws at the WTO. We urge the Senate not to follow in the House’s footsteps and to stand up for U.S. consumers and farmers by defending country of origin labeling.”
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-4905, kfried(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.