Billings, Mont. One of the staunchest supporters of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef, R-CALF USA, is launching a new campaign called "COOLin100." The campaign calls on the new Trump Administration and new Congress to reinstate COOL for beef and pork during the Trump Administration's first 100 days in office.
The idea to launch the new campaign was incepted after R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard participated in a 15-minute interview in January with Tomi Lahren, host for the cable network TheBlaze, to talk about COOL. The video went viral with over 700,000 views and Lahren's related "Final Thoughts with Tomi" attracted over 5 million views.
"Having learned about the public's keen interest in COOL, we now want to help President Trump achieve his stated rule to "Buy American," said R-CALF USA COOL Committee Chair Mike Schultz, who also is a cow/calf producer from Brewster, Kansas.
Schultz said the rule to "Buy American" was one of the two rules for America that Trump announced during his inauguration speech.
However, at the behest of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Congress in 2015 repealed the widely popular COOL law that required retailers to label beef and pork according to their country-of-origin with a label denoting where the animal was born, where it was raised, and where it was harvested.
Without the mandatory label, Americans have no way of knowing from which country or countries the beef or pork they purchase was sourced.
Congress repealed the COOL law for beef and pork just a year after a U.S. appellate court upheld a U.S. district court ruling that found that the consumer-friendly COOL law for beef and pork complied with the U.S. Constitution and U.S. statutes. The courts found that COOL empowered Americans to support American farmers and ranchers as well as to choose to buy food produced under their own U.S. food safety system.
"Americans were stripped of their right to know where their beef is produced at the same time the government was relaxing our health and safety import standards to allow raw beef to be imported from previously banned countries including Brazil, Argentina, Namibia, Ireland and France," said Schultz.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the U.S. now imports beef from 20 foreign countries, including countries that continue to combat dangerous livestock diseases. For example, the U.S. relaxed restrictions for Brazil, where foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) remains endemic; and for France, which continues to detect mad cow disease (the latest case was detected in March 2016).
Schultz said the only reason producers and consumers lost COOL for beef and pork was because the past Administration and Congress refused to defend America's sovereign right to inform its consumers about the origins of their food. "The new Administration and Congress can correct this serious error very quickly if they choose to."
"Our COOLin100 campaign will empower Americans to Buy American by distinguishing beef and pork products produced exclusively in the United States from those produced in whole or in part in foreign countries.
"Only with a mandatory COOL label on beef and pork can Americans comply with the new Buy American rule that will ultimately boost the U.S. economy by helping to increase demand for cattle produced by U.S. farmers and ranchers, whose businesses are located in every state," concluded Schultz.
The COOLin100 campaign will utilize social media, member and consumer call-ins, fact sheets and lobbying trips to raise awareness for the need to immediately reinstate mandatory COOL so Americans can choose to begin supporting American farmers and ranchers by buying beef and pork produced exclusively in the United States of America.
We need your help! Please share this message "We need mandatory COOL reinstated on our beef and pork in the first 100 days of President Trump's Administration." with theWhite House, tweet it to President Trump (@realDonaldTrump) using #COOLin100 #BuyAmerican and donate to the cause. Text COOL 10 to 4066305536 to donate $10 to support COOL; or replace the 10 with any dollar amount you wish to give. Donate through our website. Or mail-in your contribution to R-CALF USA COOLin100 PO Box 30715 Billings, MT 59107.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.