Home » Concerns over Country of Origin Labelling Online Act (COOL act)

Concerns over Country of Origin Labelling Online Act (COOL act)

Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a labelling law that requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets and club warehouse stores, to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods. Food products covered by the law include muscle cut and ground meats: lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.

The Act could trigger potential retaliatory tariffs on an array of products. Photo by Creative Commons | Gordon Johnson

The Act could trigger potential retaliatory tariffs on an array of products. Photo by Creative Commons | Gordon Johnson

At the end of May, 2021, the GCCA joined other food and agriculture associations in sending a letter to Democratic leadership expressing concerns with the COOL Act, an amendment in the US Innovation and Competition Act, (S. 1260) that would require retailers and sellers to include country of origin information in product descriptions on their websites.

As written, the COOL Act would be unworkable for food retailers, could trigger potential retaliatory tariffs on an array of products, and could expand the scope of origin labelling to products offered on the internet not subject to the mandatory COOL statute administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As an alternative, the coalition letter expresses support for Senator Boozman’s (R-AR) amendment to the US Innovation and Competition Act, which would exempt covered commodities and meat and poultry products from the online COOL mandate.