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Agricultural News

R-CALF USA Charges KSU COOL Study Conflicts with WTO Findings

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:00:04 CST

R-CALF USA Charges KSU COOL Study Conflicts with WTO Findings
A November 2012 study released by Kansas State University (KSU) titled, "Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling: Consumer Demand Impact," claims that demand for beef has not been impacted by mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL).

However, the World Trade Organization (WTO), in its adverse COOL ruling made pursuant to complaints filed by Canada and Mexico, asserted that the U.S. COOL law seeks to incentivize the switching of demand towards U.S. products. The WTO ultimately found that COOL creates an incentive in favor of processing domestic livestock and a disincentive against imported livestock.

"The WTO clearly sided with Canada and Mexico because it found that the demand for imported cattle - and necessarily the beef from imported cattle - was reduced by COOL," said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

"This is exactly what we expected and intended COOL to do," he said. "U.S. cattlemen expected U.S. meatpackers, which are the cattlemen's consumers, to prefer to slaughter U.S.-origin cattle to satisfy the retail customers demand for beef that is labeled both with a USDA inspection sticker and a U.S.-origin label.

"If the KSU study is accurate, then the WTO ruling is a sham, and vice-versa," Bullard said.

Bullard said that if demand for Canadian or Mexican cattle slaughtered to produce Canadian-origin and Mexican-origin beef was unchanged due to COOL, then neither Canada nor Mexico would have filed complaints at the WTO.

"The fact that KSU has issued an implausible study demonstrates just how much manipulative political power COOL opponents - primarily the multinational meatpackers - have over our land grant universities.

"We believe the demand for Canadian and Mexican cattle, and their resulting beef, has been reduced by COOL and we content the WTO has no authority whatsoever to undermine U.S. sovereignty by attempting to strong-arm the U.S. into repealing or modifying our COOL law," Bullard concluded.



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