Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue ( USDA )
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made clear his position on mandatory country-of-origin labeling on beef in his State of the Rural Economy testimony before the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.
Mandatory COOL “is not going to happen unless we want to do a billion-dollar litigation damage with Mexico and Canada,” he said.
However, the agency is seeking to use its existing labeling authority to find a path forward that conforms to World Trade Organization's regulations. America’s previous country-of-origin labeling laws were repealed by Congress in 2015 under threat of $1 billion retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico through the WTO.
USDA is considering limiting the use of voluntary "Product of the USA" label to animals that are "slaughtered and processed in the United States.
In response to a question during the hearing, Perdue said USDA is “trying to thread the needle honestly, with transparency, so the consumer knows what they get and [we] help the producer feel they get value for cattle that have been grown and processed [in the U.S.].”