What Is C.O.O.L?

That's the question we all asked in high-school, right? What's funny is the things we thought were cool at one point have become pretty uncool today.

I rest my case... This blog isn't about clothes; even though we are some fashion forward ranchers and can dress up Levi's to impress. This blog is about how labeling of meat in the US is misleading Americans and undermining our local farms and ranches. It all started with C.O.O.L (Country Of Origin Labeling), so that's what we are going to start with. Time to nail down what "C.O.O.L" truly is once and for all.

C.O.O.L In A Nutshell

Sorry... we had too. C.O.O.L, or Country of origin Labeling, has always been about foreign products and items being properly labeled. It existed to make sure goods coming into the US had the right identifying markers and labeling so that buyers could know where it originated and was produced. In 2009, they amended the current legislation to include beef, pork, poultry, and other commodities. This amendment made it so that country of origin labeling was REQUIRED on all covered commodities. You can see a history of the legislation here.  A large amount of foreign companies and countries were not happy about this because a lot of people in the US prefer to buy American - you're darn right we do. This led to some of the best years for American Producers. The support and satisfaction with the product were shown in the fact that record sale years were had for American Farms and Ranches alike. All was thriving until 2015... that was a very un-cool year. That was the year that they repealed and changed the C.O.O.L Act. Why? Because of lobbyists from huge, oversea meat distributors and the WTO (World Trade Organization). That's right, our government caved on American workers for lobbyists from Brazil, Australia, Uruguay, and other places that shouldn't have any impact on our industry. What did their decision change about the labeling? We'll tell you.

So Not C.O.O.L

This made it possible for cattle, who were raised and slaughtered in other countries, to be shipped here in large pieces, cut down, and sold with the tag "Product of USA".You read that right. A tag on meat and poultry that says "Product of USA" is more than likely NOT a product of the USA. Has this been good for American Farms and Ranches? No! It's horrible for them and it's horrible for you. Since 2016, over 100,000 American Farms and Ranches have closed. That is a tragic statistic that we are committed to changing! These farms and ranches are closing because they cannot differentiate themselves from foreign competitors. Plus, you can't trust what is right in front of your eyes. This is essentially a form of false advertising that our own government approved.  The giants in the international markets get to masquerade as little guys. They get to promote themselves as American-made as they undermine the real American-made products right beside them. That's like erasing the name off the test of the smart kid beside you and writing your own on it to get a passing grade. It's not okay. They undercut the price of real, American beef with the cheap, "grass-finished" cows from abroad. (We would elaborate on how grass-finished cows are never actually finished... but that is another blog in itself.) The interest of these grass-finished importers is quantity over quality, and you can taste it in their beef and see it in their actions.

Bring C.O.O.L Back

There are members of our government pushing for Country of Origin Labeling to be resurrected. "U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune, both Republicans representing South Dakota, introduced a bill Oct. 30 to disallow "Product of U.S.A." labels on beef born, raised and slaughtered in other countries. Their U.S. Beef Integrity Act would mandate that label only for beef products from one or more animals born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S." You can read more at Food Dive's Article. Hopefully there can be a middle ground found so that consumers can have the information they deserve and US producers are distinguished from competitors. The WTO found COOL to be in violation of its rules last time - that's why it was repealed - but there is definitely a space between where C.O.O.L was in 2015 and where we are now (no label integrity) that can help bring balance to the meat industry once again.

You Can Be C.O.O.L Today

We hope that C.O.O.L makes a comeback for grocery stores, but you know who has always been C.O.O.L? Good Ranchers. (Not So Humble Brag) We started this company to connect the American Family to the American Farm and Ranch. Every box is always filled with 100% American Beef, Chicken, and Seafood every time. Our label would read "Forever from the USA". If you want the confidence of knowing where your meat comes from, then buy today at goodranchers.com. Together, we can make meat C.O.O.L again and support the real Products of the USA! Also, make sure to check back in and follow us on social @GoodRanchers for more tips and info on all your Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Seafood needs!