Labeling and the Marketplace
To maintain both its lock on the marketplace and its unjust share of the retail price of agricultural goods, industrial agriculture blocks transparency in the marketplace. One way it does this is by denying U.S. producers the ability to differentiate their products from those of multi-national industrial agriculture corporations. This not only diminishes U.S. producers’ ability to access the market with their own agricultural goods, but also it prevents the producers from obtaining a fair and just price for their products.
This tactic also flies in the face of consumer demands for transparency in their food system. U.S. consumers, in historic numbers, are demanding to know where their food comes from and where and how it is processed.
Labeling provides consumers with important information for their marketplace choices. It helps guide consumers who want to buy from U.S. family farmers and ranchers rather than industrial multi-national corporations that commingle meat products from several foreign countries.
Consumers were provided transparency through previous Congressionally-adopted Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). During the period COOL was in effect in the U.S., consumers were choosing U.S. beef over other options and prices paid to U.S. producers were on the rise. Unfortunately, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other industrial agriculture special interests joined foreign countries with legal claims at the World Trade Organization and they pushed Congress to repeal COOL. Beef and pork COOL provisions have since been abandoned by Congress.
Pricing research clearly demonstrates that the 2016 fall in the price cattle producers receive for their calves, of almost 50%, can be tied to the abandonment of COOL. U.S. calves are now worth half of what they were prior to COOL being repealed.
Therefore, it is in the best interests of U.S. consumers and U.S. independent farmers and ranchers to demand Country of Origin Labeling be reinstated in the U.S. The Organization for Competitive Markets has been a long-standing and staunch supporter of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling and has the passage of COOL as a top legislative priority.