June 29, 2012
Contact:  Sandy Courtnage

WTO Ruling Does Not Require Labeling Change

Great Falls, MT (June 29, 2012) – The Montana Farmers Union (MFU) today expressed its strong support for country-of-origin labeling (COOL).  Today the WTO found that parts of the U.S. requirement for mandatory country-of-origin labeling of food is a violation of international trade law yet it also found the labeling law itself is allowable under the WTO.

“Our policy on country-of-origin labeling is very clear and long-standing,” said MFU President Alan Merrill.  “We believe in the right of Montana and the United States to be able to label agricultural commodities and processed food products as to their origin, and consumers deserve to know the origin of their food.”

It is our understanding that the ruling was a split decision, stating the imported animals are being discounted due to the segregation requirements and the additional record keeping involved in complying with the law.  However, this situation can be changed through the regulatory process.

“I agree wholeheartedly with our policy,” said Merrill, “and will continue to support the U.S. COOL statute that we worked so hard to pass in 2002 and 2008.   Montana and U.S. consumers should be able to know where their food originates.