Passed by Congress, COOL required labels showing where beef was born, raised, and slaughtered.
The U.S.’s trading partners in Canada and Mexico objected to the legislation and appealed to the World Trade Organization.
The U.S. lost the argument and faced billions of dollars in retaliation unless it repealed the mandatory labeling law. Now, there are rumblings the concept may be resurrected.
“Some of the Trump ag people have mentioned a mandatory COOL (mCOOL),” said Jim Wiesemeyer of Informa Economics. “His top people would go along with that. Canada and Mexico, as a result of the litigated WTO case, if they didn’t like any return to U.S. mCOOl labeling program, they could immediately invoke sanctions against the U.S., per the WTO dispute settlement panel.”
“There was a transition that the Trump team had that mentioned COOL,” said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “We were able to go in and talk to his ag advisory team to tell them how much of a bad idea that was and how that would have a negative impact on us again. While we don’t see anything imminent, we have to stay diligent.”