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U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., led a bipartisan effort with Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and 27 other senators encouraging U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk to consider a regulatory adjustment to the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule. The effort is a response to a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) decision which recognized the right of the United States to require origin labeling for meat but disagreed with how the law was implemented.

“Congress intended COOL to provide as much information as possible to consumers about the source of the meat they buy,” said Enzi. “We have always recognized some flexibility may be needed to implement the law. We are encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative to work with ranchers and industry stakeholders to ensure COOL provides accurate information to families at the meat counter.”

The World Trade Organization recently required the USDA to adjust its rules requiring American retailers to clearly label where meat was raised and processed.  The WTO said that while the U.S. can require meat labeling, current U.S. Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) rules do not meet WTO standards. 

The bipartisan coalition also said that the USDA should allow public comment on any new proposals so ranchers and industry stakeholders can provide input.

The bipartisan letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is available online here.  It is signed by 31 Senators, including John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), David Vitter (R-La.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

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