History of Voluntary COOL Programs

R-CALF USA friends and others,

I will tell you personally that if they strip COOL, I will NOT pay another dime into the BEEF CHECKOFF! They can kiss my ass and lets all go to court! I am not paying for the demise of the U.S. cattle industry at the hands of the NCBA controlled beef checkoff due to multinational sourcing meat packers. Will you join me and stop paying for a corrupt system (more is coming on the abuses of income and expenditures of the Checkoff, bear with me on this one). DO NOT weaken COOL with voluntary and below are the reasons to be concerned:

Mike Schultz
419 Sixth St.,
Brewster, Kansas 67732
Mobile 785-462-1447

As we reported previously, pro-COOL groups are jumping ship by supporting the repeal of mandatory COOL for beef and pork and then supporting a voluntary labeling program for those meats. This is what the multinational packers have been pushing for even before mandatory COOL was passed into law. R-CALF USA has many years of experience with voluntary COOL. It didn’t work. We learned that cow/calf producers who sell feeder calves have no way to cause either packers or retailers to label the beef produced from their calves with a USA label after their calves have been sold into the supply chain.

Below is a brief history of voluntary COOL that used the very same “born, raised, and slaughtered” standard as used in mandatory COOL:

Recent History of Voluntary COOL Programs

· Prior to the 2002 passage of mandatory COOL, the FSIS and AMS offered a voluntary labeling program for meat products. During its first three years of operation, no suppliers participated in the program. 68 Fed. Reg., at 61,956, col. 1 (Oct. 30, 2003).

· Soon after the 2002 passage of mandatory COOL, the USDA implemented a new voluntary COOL program that became effective on October 11, 2002. 67 Fed. Reg., at 63,367, col. 2 (Oct. 11, 2002). The program reserved the USA label only for meat derived from animals that were exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States. Id., at 63,373, cols. 2-3. By mid-2005, the Congressional Research Service reported that few if any retailers opted for the voluntary program. CRS Report, 97-508 ENR, June 3, 2005, at CRS-3. The voluntary program remained in effect for six years, until September 30, 2008, which was the date that COOL became mandatory. 73 Fed. Reg., 45106, (Aug. 1, 2008).

· In 2005 opponents to mandatory COOL introduced legislation to convert mandatory COOL to voluntary COOL for meat and they adopted the same born, raised, and slaughtered requirement contained in USDA’s voluntary program. H.R. 2068 109th Congress. This legislation to convert COOL from mandatory to voluntary was introduced by Representative Goodlatte and did not pass largely because of R-CALF USA’s strong opposition.

· When it issued its final COOL rule in 2009, USDA reaffirmed that there was a lack of widespread participation in voluntary labeling programs. 74 Fed Reg, at 2,682 (Jan. 15, 2009).