While visiting Washington D.C. last week, Canadian officials voiced strong opposition to any voluntary country-of-origin labeling program in the United States. Agri-Pulse reported a voluntary version of the U.S. COOL law “did not come up at all,” according to Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay after meeting with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. MacAulay noted that Canada “does not support voluntary labeling.”
Last month the World Trade Organization authorized just more than $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs for Mexico and Canada, who have long disputed mandatory meat labeling. The mandatory COOL law was repealed by Congress before the retaliations were put into place. Still, Calando proceeded with the WTO process to have authorized retaliation should COOL resurface. Canada has a voluntary labeling program of its own, according to Agri-Pulse, but Canadian stakeholders have compared it to a “truth in advertising” requirement that is less restrictive than the former U.S. mandatory COOL law.