We monitored the progress of mandatory Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) for pork, beef and related muscle meats sold at retail from the rule's birth to death. We also discussed the World Trade Organization (WTO) wanting to show the whole life of the animal as it moved from country to country. Let’s get up to speed on where we are at with all those rules that cost more money at the check out counter.

Used to be COOL

Most of the meat industry is thanking their lucky stars the full life tracking of animals as requested by the WTO was never enforced.  On a global scale the COOL requirements as outlined for certain products were determined to be an artificial tariff  on trade.  The greater concern we heard locally from processors and distributors was the increase in costs and overhead, without noticeable benefit to the industry or the consumer. We need to look at this COOL scenario by food group to see what what has changed.

Exempt

  • Muscle group meats, pork and beef:
    Effective with the gift bill signed into law in Dec. 2015 by President Obama those muscle groups no longer require COOL labels at retail. This was viewed as a very expensive proposition by the retail level and was fought hard by The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and most meat trade organizations. As you can see from the label on the side how confusing it could be to the consumer on where the meat really did come from.

 

Not Exempt

  • Produce:
    The PTI (Produce Trace Initiative) is still in play and has been for several years. Produce Traceabiliity has been law as part of the FSMA since 2008 the PTI conforms to those guidelines. Shoppers can see that all of our produce is marked with where it comes from and this current law will not change. This is dictated by the FDA.



     
  • Seafood:
    All fresh and frozen Seafood sold to retail is required by law to have COOL.  All the Seafood guys I know conform to these standards. It also has to denote wild caught or farm raised so you know the source of its growth.





 
 

 



Issue 602 - Why I won’t cook so much.

While preparing for Thanksgiving and the children, grandchildren, etc. coming over I reviewed with my wife how we can best manage the event. Previous years Mary and I would whip ourselves into a frenzy with list making, shopping, and most importantly cooking the dinner. At the point when we had everybody over and the table was set, exhaustion would settle in and it was time for my nap.  Let’s look at some of the food prep alternatives today and how we have embraced the change.

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