Country-of-origin labeling: Not so COOL?

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Related tags: International trade, Us

Country-of-origin labeling: Not so COOL? asks its readers what they think of Canada’s World Trade Organization complaint over US country-of-origin labeling rules.

Canada has said that the US country-of-origin labeling (COOL) hurts its exports and has filed a complaint with the WTO saying that the rules stop its producers from being able to compete fairly on the US market.

If it wins it could impose retaliatory sanctions on American food products.

US trade groups have also expressed concern over the labeling scheme. The American Meat Institute added its voice to the anti-COOL camp, saying laws requiring mandatory county-of-origin labeling for red meat “are solely for the purpose of erecting trade barriers, especially directed at Canada and Mexico - our two largest export markets for red meat.”

However, US authorities argue that its citizens have the right to know the origin of the food they buy. But the rules only cover a limited number of unprocessed foods, a caveat that has led the US Center for Food Safety to criticize COOL for leaving consumers ‘shamefully uninformed’.

So, should the COOL rules be dropped as anti-import? Or do they not go far enough?

What do you think?

We would like to hear your views on what you think about the COOL labeling system. Click here​ for our original coverage of Canada’s WTO complaint.

Please send your comments of no more than 100 words to caroline.scott-thomas 'at' by Thursday May 21st, putting ‘COOL dispute’ in the subject line.

We will publish a selection of the best responses, covering all angles of the debate, on Friday May 22nd.

Please note that comments will be taken to be 'on the record', and the sender's name and affiliated company/organization will be published.

Related topics: Regulation

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