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The Demise of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)

The Demise of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)

May 26, 2015

Authored by: Sara Ahmed

Digest has been tracking the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (“COOL”) rules that the WTO decided last year violate international fair trade rules.  It was the third time the WTO found COOL to be unfairly discriminatory.

In response to the threat of retaliation by Canada and Mexico, last week, the House Agricultural Committee voted to repeal a portion of COOL.  Under the bill, beef, pork, and chicken products will likely no longer state where the animals were born, slaughtered, and packaged.  The USDA had previously tried to no avail to revamp the rules upon the WTO’s prior rulings.

The U.S. National Farmers Union’s President, Roger Johnson, has been vocal in his feelings against the move to repeal portions of COOL and stated: “The House Agriculture Committee has succumbed to lobbying and scare tactics from foreign governments and multinational meatpackers and inserted itself prematurely into the WTO process by voting for a bill

FDA Proposes Draft Guidance on Mandatory Recall Authority

One key element of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act was the Act’s grant to FDA of powers to force a product recall.  Prior to FSMA, FDA had no such authority, and was required to use other authorities to “lean” on companies to conduct a recall.  Now, FDA may force a recall where it finds that there is a reasonable probability that food is adulterated or misbranded and the use of or exposure to the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.  In addition to satisfying this fairly substantial threshold, the responsible party must refuse to voluntarily conduct a recall.  The result is that FDA has initiated its mandatory recall authority only a couple of times, notably with respect to Kasel Associates Industries, Inc.’s pet treats and dietary supplements manufactured by USPLabs.

FDA recently issued draft nonbinding guidance regarding its mandatory recall authority.  The draft

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