I want to extend my thanks to Sen. Claire McCaskill for her support for the proper implementation of the Country of Origin Labeling Law and her opposition to the National Animal Identification System.
COOL was passed in 2002, but the past administration and the USDA had no interest in implementing the law as Congress intended. For the most part, COOL allows the consumer to know in what country their food is raised.
The USDA is again making a major push for mandatory implementation of NAIS. Food safety is the reason given by the USDA, but as McCaskill wisely points out in her letter to the USDA the problem is at the process level now, not at the producer level. According to Kansas State University, if NAIS was implemented it would cost the small beef producer $16 per head besides excessive paper work and reporting systems.
McCaskill states it best, “When you consider the cost of this program with the level of benefits received by the producer, the facts do not make the case for NAIS. The current economic downturn has further stretched producers beyond the breaking point. It does not make sense to place such a significant and unjustified burden on our independent producers, particularly when we cannot value the benefit.”