House votes to repeal country of origin label requirement for meat

Fox News

Under threat of trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico, the House has voted to to repeal a law requiring country-of-origin labels on packages of beef, pork and poultry.

The World Trade Organization rejected a U.S. appeal last month, ruling the labels that say where animals were born, raised and slaughtered are discriminatory against the two U.S. border countries. Both have said they plan to ask the WTO for permission to impose billions of dollars in tariffs on American goods.  

The House voted 300-131 to repeal labels that tell consumers what countries the meat is from — for example, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States” or “born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

The WTO ruled against the labels last year. The Obama administration has already revised the labels once to try to comply with previous WTO rulings. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said it’s up to Congress to change the law to avoid retaliation from the two countries.

The law was initially written at the behest of northern U.S. ranchers who compete with the Canadian cattle industry. It also was backed by consumer advocates who say it helps shoppers know where their food comes from. Supporters have called on the U.S. government to negotiate with Canada and Mexico to find labels acceptable to all countries.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said repeal would be premature, adding, “Our people deserve a right to know where their food is produced and where it comes from.”

Meat processors who buy animals from abroad as well as many others in the U.S. meat industry have called for a repeal of the law they have fought for years, including unsuccessfully in federal court. They say it’s burdensome and costly for producers and retailers.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, has long backed the meat industry’s call for repeal.

“Although some consumers desire (country-of-origin labeling) information, there is no evidence to conclude that this mandatory labeling translates into market-measurable increases in consumer demand for beef, pork or chicken,” Conaway said on the House floor.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the vote that the last thing American farmers need “is for Congress to sit idly by as international bureaucrats seek to punish them through retaliatory trade policies that could devastate agriculture as well as other industries.”

The bill would go beyond just the muscle cuts of red meat that were covered under the WTO case, repealing country-of-origin labeling for poultry, ground beef and ground pork. The chicken industry has said the labeling doesn’t make much sense for poultry farmers because the majority of chicken consumed in the United States is hatched, raised and processed domestically.

The legislation would leave in place country-of-origin labeling requirements for several other commodities, including lamb, venison, seafood, fruits and vegetables and some nuts.

Canada and Mexico have opposed the labeling because it causes their animals to be segregated from those of U.S. origin — a costly process that has led some U.S. companies to stop buying exports.

The two countries have said that if they are allowed by the WTO, they may impose retaliatory measures such as tariffs against a variety of U.S. imports. Their list includes food items like beef, pork, cheese, corn, cherries, maple syrup, chocolate and pasta, plus non-agricultural goods such as mattresses, wooden furniture and jewelry. The retaliatory measures could total more than $3 billion, the countries said.

Congress required the labels in 2002 and 2008 farm laws. The original labels created by USDA were less specific, saying a product was a “product of U.S.” or “product of U.S. and Canada.” The WTO rejected those labels in 2012, and USDA tried again with the more detailed labels a year later. The WTO rejected those revised rules last year, and the United States filed one last appeal, rejected in May by the WTO.

On the Senate side, Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has said he will move quickly to respond to the WTO ruling, though he has yet to introduce a bill.

After the House vote, Roberts said repeal “remains the surest way to protect the American economy” from retaliatory tariffs.

So why can’t we know the country of origin?  Canada’s Meat Inspectors Told to Ignore Messy Carcasses

6 thoughts on “House votes to repeal country of origin label requirement for meat

  1. Screw the WTO, Canada, and Mexico.

    I wouldn’t buy any meat unless I knew where it was coming from, and with the WTO, the Canadians and Mexicans doing all they can to destroy this country, I certainly don’t want them feeding me.

    Just impose your own trade sanctions. Let that Mexican meat rot on the supermarket shelves, and tell the manager WHY you’re no longer buying meat from him.

    Look for local sources of meat and poultry. A woman who lives near me is raising chickens for me. A friend of mine is buying a locally raised pig. If you don’t have sources of locally produced food, you can create the market for them by making an offer. (the woman I speak of is only in the chicken-raising business because of me)

    As soon as there’s a demand, people will fill it, because everyone has bills to pay. You do not have to eat chink pork, with God only knows what ground up into it.

  2. “Both have said they plan to ask the WTO for permission to impose billions of dollars in tariffs on American goods.”

    Jolly Roger put it perfectly: “Screw the WTO, Canada, and Mexico.”

    I hope one of the first things done when the Republic is restored is that NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, TPP, and ever other trade agreement is repealed! “Globalization is the biggest crock of shit!

  3. Did you ever notice in articles like this, they NEVER give links to the actual vote or say how many GOP voted to repeal this or WHO voted to repeal this, give us their names or links ot how we could get their names? That’s no accident!

    Obviously, REPUBLICANS overwhelmingly control the House, so REPUBLICANS voted to repeal the origin of country label on meats & poultry.

    Why can’t they say that in print?

    “”House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement after the vote, said “the last thing (U.S. farmers) need is for Congress to sit idly by as international bureaucrats seek to punish them through retaliatory trade policies that could devastate agriculture as well as other industries.””

    I thought this benefits CANADIAN & MEXICAN farmers!!! How does this benefit AMERICAN farmers, Mr. Boehner? How does it benefit the AMERICAN people? It seems Mr. Boehner is very worried about FOREIGNERS and not US!

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