House passes bill to repeal meat labeling rules

The House passed legislation late Wednesday that would repeal country-of-origin labeling requirements for beef, pork and chicken products.

Passage of the measure came easily on a vote of 300-131.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled last month against the U.S. appeal to keep its existing country-of-origin labeling regulation for imported cuts of beef and pork. The regulation, issued in 2013, would require meat labels state where the livestock was born, raised and slaughtered.

{mosads}Canada and Mexico have challenged the rule for years on the grounds that it puts their meats at a disadvantage in the U.S. market.

WTO’s appellate body said that the regulation runs contrary to U.S. trade obligations and imposes a burden on meat producers that have to keep up with the recordkeeping requirements.

“The program has not worked and it’s time to put this failed experiment behind us once and for all,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas). 

But Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the Agriculture Committee’s top Democrat, warned that the House was rushing the bill only a month after the WTO ruling.

“We understand that this needs to be dealt with. My problem with this whole process is that it just is not giving people enough time to look at this and figure out what is a reasonable solution, because most other countries have labeling,” Peterson said.

Wednesday’s vote came just days before the House is expected to vote on legislation granting President Obama fast-track trade authority on Friday. 

Consumer advocacy groups who support the labeling requirements warned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact could further threaten regulations meant to protect public safety.

“How could Congress be considering fast track for more trade deals that will undermine our food safety after just being ordered by a foreign trade tribunal to eliminate Americans’ right to  know where the meat at our grocery stores comes from?” Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said in a statement.

The White House has not issued a Statement of Administration Policy regarding the legislation.

– Lydia Wheeler contributed.

Tags Country of Origin Labeling

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video