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Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of Agriculture studied the issue and found that there is no regulatory fix that would be consistent with U.S. law as it exists and also satisfy the WTO.

“One of two things needs to happen,” Vilsack said at the NAFB convention. “Either our Canadian and Mexican friends need to tell us more clearly and more specifically what, if any, variation of this will work for them, or Congress has to give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to the WTO report released in October, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. This was the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against it.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will decide whether to appeal the latest ruling and Vilsack has previously said that an appeal would not be filed until January 2015.

Food Safety News

Domestic Judges Won’t Tamper With COOL: But Keeping It Could be Costly

Another day, another ruling on so-called Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) of muscle cuts of meat.

The latest is a decision by the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit not to rehear the dispute. That means, unless the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue, that domestic courts are fine with U.S. Department of Agriculture rules that require producers to keep track and report on the label on the birthplace, residence, and location at passing for each hunk of meat sold at retail in the U.S. regardless of the burden or cost.

However, the World Trade Organization sees those very provisions as illegal non-tariff barriers to trade. Canada and Mexico recently won another round of WTO rulings that many manufacturers and agricultural interests fear will allow those countries to impose crippling retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.

It means instead of just being a regulatory cost falling on the meat industry and its consumers, COOL could result in Canada and Mexico being able to collect billions of dollars of extra tariffs or taxes from a wide variety of U.S. industries.

WTO may impose such tariffs to punish countries that violate their trade agreements.

That’s caused a broad coalition of the U.S. manufacturing and agricultural industry to begin lobbying Congress for changes that to make COOL WTO compliant before early next year when those tariffs might become a reality.

Original supporters of COOL, including the Farm Bureau and United Stockgrowers of America, are buoyed by its support from domestic judges and oppose changes to accommodate WTO.

Food Safety News

Industry Groups Ask Congress to Rescind Parts of COOL to Avoid Tariffs

In a letter to Congress on Thursday, numerous U.S. manufacturing and agricultural interests formally began a campaign to remove elements of the country of-origin labeling (COOL) laws which apply to muscle cuts of meat.

They say Congress should act now to rescind offending COOL language before final adjudication by the World Trade Organization (WTO) early next year. They fear that Canada and Mexico will then begin to impose punitive tariffs on any number of manufacturing and agricultural products produced in the U.S.

“It is expected that U.S. industries would suffer billions in lost sales if retaliation is allowed,” the letter states. “Given the negative impact on the U.S. manufacturing and agriculture economies, we respectfully submit that it would be intolerable for the United States to maintain, even briefly, a rule that has been deemed non-compliant by the WTO.”

“With little potential for quick Congressional action after a WTO final adjudication, we request that Congress immediately authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to rescind elements of COOL that have been determined to be non-compliant with international trade obligations by a final WTO adjudication,” the letter continues. “Such action by Congress would not undermine COOL to the extent COOL is consistent with international trade obligations nor would it weaken the U.S. defense of COOL in WTO litigation.”

Those signing the letter also provided Congress with a new COOL Reform Coalition website to track how much potential retaliatory tariffs would impose on the economy of each state.

Food Safety News

Meat groups applaud WTO ruling on COOL

The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico in the countries’ challenge to updated country-of-origin labeling regulations in the U.S.

WTO found that the COOL rule discriminates against Canadian and Mexican livestock and causes more of a negative impact on imported livestock than the original COOL measure. In addition, WTO said the additional labeling and recordkeeping burdens could not be explained by the need to give consumers more information.

The American Meat Institute and North American Meat Association released a joint statement praising the decision:

“The WTO decision upholding Canada’s and Mexico’s challenge to the U.S. COOL rule comes as no surprise. USDA’s mandatory COOL rule is not only onerous and burdensome on livestock producers and meat packers and processors, it does not bring the U.S. into compliance with its WTO obligations. By being out of compliance, the U.S. is subject to retaliation from Canada and Mexico that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

“While the U.S. has the option to appeal the ruling, we encourage USTR and USDA to instead work together with the industry and Congress to amend the COOL statute so that it complies with our international obligations and brings stability to the market. Such a change would help restore strong relationships with some of our largest and most important trading partners.”

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Supermarket News

Margaux’s signature accessory? A very cool water bottle

The author always has her water handy “at my desk, in my car and at meetings.”

HELLO

First impressions are everything — we all got the memo. As professionals, we know that we get up, dress up and show up every day if we want to succeed in life. We select appropriate attire depending on our job, we do our hair and we work hard because we want to project a positive image to those around us. Appearance matters the first time or the 50th time we see someone. Check!

DETAILS

What about those accessories? They’re also sending a silent message to your co-workers, colleagues, employees, customers and potential customers, and I’m not talking about a great pair of shoes or the perfect handbag.

Margaux never goes anywhere without her cool Voss water bottle.Consider for a moment, the item that always seems to be with us whether we think about them or not. Is that omnipresent cup of coffee in a stained Styrofoam cup or a sleek insulated travel mug? Is a refillable monster beverage jug from the convenience store/gas station a wardrobe staple?  Do you show up for meetings with a messy stack of papers or an iPad?  When your phone rings do you whip out an old-school flip phone or a newer smartphone?

CALLING CARD

Are you good with your current look or does it need some attention? Maybe just some fine-tuning? What message does it send? Decide what your signature accessory is going to be, make sure it represents your personal brand and own it.

Being a health and wellness advocate who preaches first and foremost: water, water, water, there is no question that a bottle of water will be with me always — at my desk, in my car and at meetings. The environment is also important to me so I found a cool looking glass Voss bottle that I can wash and reuse. Then, I refill it with reverse osmosis water multiple times daily. 

If it breaks or I lose it, it’s not expensive to replace. Honestly, I used it for years BEFORE I found out that the unique bottle was the brainchild of Neil Kraft, former creative director for Calvin Klein. It makes perfect sense though. It’s chic and goes with everything! The water bottle has turned into a calling card of sorts.

TRENDING

What you select for yourself just may catch on to those around you — hopefully it’s good and healthy. One day I noticed that my students started to show up at class with the same bottle of water that I had, then the whole Voss water bottle thing took off on it’s own. Now, I can spot them in a crowd just by the accessory they are carrying.

INSPIRE ON

What’s your signature accessory? Are you owning it or rethinking it?

Supermarket News

Senators to Colleagues: Don’t ‘Pre-Emptively Weaken’ COOL

Over the summer, more than 100 members of Congress called for repeal of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) if the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the U.S. in its trade dispute with Canada and Mexico.

This week, 32 senators wrote to the leaders of the Appropriations Committee, asking that they not deal with the labeling rule before the trade dispute resolution has run its course.

“As the Senate debates how to provide funding for the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015, we urge you to reject efforts to weaken or suspend [COOL] through any continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations bill,” wrote the signatories, who include Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Enzi (R-WY).

The WTO decision is unlikely to be clear-cut, the letter stated, and the committee should not allow rumors about a possible outcome to “pre-emptively weaken” COOL.

“Consumers have the right to know where their food comes from and farmers should be able to market their livestock as born and raised in America,” the senators wrote.

Food Safety News

Congress Members Ask USDA to Drop COOL if WTO Disapproves

If the World Trade Organization (WTO) sides with Canada and Mexico in their complaint that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws in the U.S. put their meat exports at an unfair disadvantage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture should rescind those laws and allow Congress to resolve the issue, said 112 members of Congress in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The letter was written by Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), ranking member and chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, respectively. Another 110 of their colleagues also signed on.

“If the WTO finds the COOL rule to be non-compliant, the resulting consequences could have a detrimental impact on our economy,” said Costa in a statement. “Congress must be prepared to act and find a solution that maintains a healthy relationship with our trading partners and protects the American economy.”

COOL laws mandate that meat products be labeled to tell where the food animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The members’ letter comes on the heels of Tuesday’s D.C. Circuit Court decision to uphold the COOL rule following the American Meat Institute’s appeal of an earlier legal decision supporting the rule.

The WTO has reportedly finished its most recent compliance report on COOL set to be released in September, according to the trade publication Washington Trade Daily. That new report apparently still finds a number of problems with the COOL law as it currently exists.

The WTO had previously determined the U.S. COOL law incompatible with WTO obligations in Canada and Mexico’s initial complaint. In May 2013, USDA presented an adjusted rule that the two countries also challenged on the same grounds that it put their meat exports at a competitive disadvantage.

Food Safety News

Congress Members Ask USDA to Drop COOL if WTO Disapproves

If the World Trade Organization (WTO) sides with Canada and Mexico in their complaint that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws in the U.S. put their meat exports at an unfair disadvantage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture should rescind those laws and allow Congress to resolve the issue, said 112 members of Congress in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The letter was written by Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), ranking member and chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, respectively. Another 110 of their colleagues also signed on.

“If the WTO finds the COOL rule to be non-compliant, the resulting consequences could have a detrimental impact on our economy,” said Costa in a statement. “Congress must be prepared to act and find a solution that maintains a healthy relationship with our trading partners and protects the American economy.”

COOL laws mandate that meat products be labeled to tell where the food animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The members’ letter comes on the heels of Tuesday’s D.C. Circuit Court decision to uphold the COOL rule following the American Meat Institute’s appeal of an earlier legal decision supporting the rule.

The WTO has reportedly finished its most recent compliance report on COOL set to be released in September, according to the trade publication Washington Trade Daily. That new report apparently still finds a number of problems with the COOL law as it currently exists.

The WTO had previously determined the U.S. COOL law incompatible with WTO obligations in Canada and Mexico’s initial complaint. In May 2013, USDA presented an adjusted rule that the two countries also challenged on the same grounds that it put their meat exports at a competitive disadvantage.

Food Safety News

Groups Jockey for Position Ahead of Final WTO Decision on COOL

As the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) final decision regarding country of origin labeling (COOL) looms, industry is asking Congress to prepare for a judgment against the U.S.

“With little potential for quick Congressional action after a WTO final adjudication, we request that Congress authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to suspend indefinitely the revised COOL rule for muscle cuts of meat upon a final adjudication of non-compliance with WTO obligations,” states the letter from dozens of companies and industry organizations to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and the House Committee on Agriculture.

COOL requires that meat be labeled with the specific country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, and the governments of Canada and Mexico have argued that the rule is out of compliance with WTO’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

The meat industry is concerned that the rule is a source of added production costs, and that retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico would hurt a broad spectrum of industries.

According to POLITICO, WTO has issued a confidential interim decision that gives the sides time to comment before the final decision is made public in a few weeks.

“We have received the interim report, but detailed review is necessary before commenting further,” a USDA official reportedly told POLITICO Pro on Friday.

The National Farmers Union took a different view than the industry groups of what the agency should do.

“Urging Congress to repeal COOL laws before the WTO report is issued is just another desperate attempt to prevent consumers from having access to basic information about their food,” Roger Johnson, NFU president, said in a statement.

During a House budget hearing in April, Edward Avalos, the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said that the agency is “confident” that changes to the rule which took effect last year will put the U.S. in compliance with WTO. When pushed on the issue, he said that the agency would address the decision when it’s made.

Food Safety News