U.S. Government Repeals Country-of-Origin Labels for Beef and Pork; Orders EPA to not Monitor Pollution Caused by Meat Industry

Thursday, December 31, 2015
(photo: VIN News)

Some very meaty decisions out of Washington appear to be unhealthy for consumers and the environment.


First, Congress and President Barack Obama teamed up to repeal mandatory country-of-origin labeling for pork and beef products. The labeling requirements were eliminated through an attachment to the omnibus budget bill passed by Congress and signed by Obama earlier this month.


The move was prompted by threats from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which threatened to allow Mexico and Canada to hit the U.S. with more than $1 billion in tariffs if it continued to require beef and pork labeling for foreign producers. The WTO said the labels discriminate against meat from animals raised and slaughtered outside the United States.


The labeling repeal wasn’t the only action by Congress affecting the beef industry. Lawmakers renewed a provision that prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring greenhouse gas emission reports from livestock producers, which are one of the country’s largest sources of methane and carbon dioxide. Livestock producers account for about 15% of the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases, more than come from automobiles.


The legislation means the U.S. government has no way of keeping track how much cattle and dairy farms are contributing to global warming. The government does collect reports from 41 other sectors of the economy, “making the meat industry the only major source of greenhouse gases in the country excluded from filing annual reports,” according to Reveal News.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Country-of-Origin Labels Repealed for Beef, Pork (Courthouse News Service)

U.S. Gives Meat Producers a Pass on Climate Change Emissions (by Nathan Halverson, Center for Investigative Reporting)

World Trade Organization Overrules U.S. Country-of-Origin Rules for Meat Products (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Beef Production Far Worse for the Environment than other Animal Products (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Meat Industry Fights New Regulations Requiring Country-of-Origin Labeling and Forbidding Mixing of Meat from Different Countries (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Killing the Breeze 8 years ago
The American public, lowest price Walmart shoppers that they are, could have stood up and insisted that the American consumer pay for the tariff bill. http://killingthebreeze.com/in-the-world-we-live-in-no-country-of-origin-meat-labeling/
Ed Farrell 8 years ago
The reporting on the repeal of Country of Origin Labeling requirements has several notable errors. First, the WTO does not threaten. Under the dispute settlement process, when a country like Canada or Mexico proves that the practice of a country - in this case the country or origin labeling measure of the United States - discriminates against them, the WTO authorizes those countries to impose retaliatory tariffs equivalent to the trade impact found. Such retaliation has been authorized in the amount of about $1.1 billion and the repeal action was taken to avoid Canada and Mexico from exercising that right. Second, the labeling regime found to be discriminatory did NOT apply to imported beef and pork "from animals raised and slaughtered outside the United States". Rather it applied to beef and pork produced in USDA inspected US plants from cattle and hogs born in Canada or Mexico, many of which had spent virtually their entire lives in the US. The discrimination resulted from the need to segregate these animals, at significant cost, in order to comply with the regulations.

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