US House of Representatives votes against country-of-origin meat labels

11 June 2015 (Last Updated June 11th, 2015 18:30)

The US House of Representatives have voted in favour of removing country-of-origin labels (COOL) from beef, pork and chicken sold in the country.

The US House of Representatives have voted in favour of removing country-of-origin labels (COOL) from beef, pork and chicken sold in the country.

The move follows the World Trade Organization's (WTO) rejection of a US appeal regarding the rule. The organisation had concurred to the discrimination claims made by Canada and Mexico against their products.

The countries opposed the labeling because it causes their animals to be segregated from those of US origin, which is an expensive process that led to some US companies to stop buying exports.

"If COOL worked, perhaps there would be a response other than repeal. But the fact is COOL has been a marketing failure."

Both the countries had recently informed the WTO that they planned to impose a $3bn trade sanction on the US.

Canada has also threatened to impose trade restrictions on US products, including meat, wine, chocolate, jewelry and furniture in retaliation to the rule.

COOL had been mandated by the US Congress in the 2002 and 2008 farm bills that required meat producers to identify the place of origin for animals along with the place they are raised and slaughtered. The information is required to be printed on the packages that are sold in grocery stores.

The Wall Street Journal quoted house agriculture committee chairman Mike Conaway as saying: "If COOL worked, perhaps there would be a response other than repeal. But the fact is COOL has been a marketing failure."

However, many in the house are against abolishing the rule completely.

Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow said: "I plan on working with my senate colleagues to develop legislation that ensures consumers have information about where their food comes from while also meeting our international trade obligations."