A coalition of more than 200 farm, consumer and environmental organizations has written a letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support recently proposed changes to U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for meat products.

USDA proposed new labeling rules in March 2013 in response to a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the old labels discriminated against imported livestock from other countries. The proposed rules would require that that all meat from animals born, raised and processed in the United States bear a “born, raised and slaughtered in the USA” label.

“The only acceptable way to respond to the WTO challenge is to make labels more informative for consumers, not water them down,” states the letter. “U.S. farmers and ranchers are proud of what they produce and should be allowed to promote their products.”

“Consumers want more information about the source of their food, not less,” said Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America in a news release. “Strengthening the Country of Origin Label provides consumers with more accurate and precise information about the source of beef and pork products they purchase.” Additional details about the COOL requirements appear in Issue 475 of the Update. See Consumer Federation of America News Release, April 2, 2013.