Country-Of-Origin Labeling Law Repealed In Omnibus Bill

Dec 18, 2015

Country-of-origin labels — like this one, on a package of steak at a grocery store in Lincoln, Neb. — tell consumers where their meat comes from.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

An attachment to the last-minute spending bill passed by Congress ends a six-year trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada. Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media reports the countries were fighting over meat labels favored by American ranchers.

They’re country of origin labels, and you’ll find them on packages of uncooked beef, pork, and poultry. They tell where the animals were born, raised, and slaughtered.

American ranchers like Jim Dinklage of Nebraska say the labels keep global meat giants like Brazil-based JBS from replacing domestic supply with cheap imports.

"They’re gonna ship it out of Brazil and bring it into this country. It would go the same way as the textile industry," Dinklage says.

When the labels showed up in 2009, Canadian ranchers called it unfair competition. The World Trade Organization recently gave Canada permission to charge tariffs in retaliation.