The petition demanded the integrity of COOL be safeguarded against World Trade Organization (WTO) criticism. In addition to the petition, four national advocacy groups sent e-petitions on recently proposed COOL rules.
According to the executive director of Food and Water Watch Wenonah Hauter, “People have the right to know where the food they feed their families comes from and the proposed COOL rules significantly improve the disclosure of information to consumers.”
Meanwhile, CEO of R-Calf USA Bill Bullard said the sheer number of petitioners highlighted just how big an issue the situation was. He said: “As confirmed by tens of thousands of petitioners, COOL is not a special interest issue: it is a fundamental right for consumers. Secretary Vilsack should promptly finalise these rules that protect the integrity of country-of-origin labels.”
Chair of the Western Organisation of Resource Council’s Ag and Food Campaign Team Mabel Dobbs said: “Ranchers have felt we produce the best beef and these good COOL reforms guarantee consumers can find our product. We’ve worked for over a decade to get COOL and we’re not about to give up defending it now.”
According to industry leaders, the support has been “instrumental” in the long-standing efforts to get COOL into the Farm Bill. National Farmers’ Union president Roger Johnson concluded: “The outpouring of support for COOL makes it clear that USDA is doing the right thing by proposing strengthened and more informative labels.”