Mandatory Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) is back in the news. Dropped after WTO rulings and predictions of financial losses, the controversial labeling issue has resurfaced in a lawsuit against the USDA.
Supporters of COOL say USDA went too far when they stopped the program and went against the intent of Congress in doing so.
Along with the lawsuit, COOL is also expected to be part of NAFTA renegotiations and proposed legislation in Congress. Supporters believe they now have an advocate in the White House as President Trump pushes his pro-America agenda.
Will this three prong strategy bring back COOL? There are still some big hurdles to overcome. Finding a way to get WTO approval will be critical.
Whether you believe we should be a part of the WTO or not, as long as we are we should abide by their rules. Critics often overlook the WTO cases that are decided in our favor. Also, who really knows the intent of Congress?
I’m not sure even they know. And then there are the consumers. I understand how passionate COOL supporters are, but I don’t think that passion is shared by a majority of consumers who tend to look at the price tag more than a label of origin.
If companies felt there was an economic benefit to be gained from COOL, they would do it voluntarily. While the concept of COOL is appealing, that’s not enough to warrant bringing it back.