COOL stands for Country of Origin Labeling. This legislation has come in to affect for many good reasons. In May 2002, law in the US to label all meat and other perishable items with the country it orignated from. This is a way of tracking meat that has found to have a disease in later dates.
This all sounds good in theory, but it proved to be detrimental to Canadian farmers.This legislation forced American companies to make a decision; separate the Canadian and American meat when packaging foods, or reduce import from Canada and increase local supply. What do you think they chose? To decrease importing, to ensure they are labeling their products correctly.
Canada has been urging the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ban the legislation, as it is proving to be nothing but trouble. Recently, the WTO has ruled that COOL is in violation of the Technical Barriers to Trade. This is finally giving Canadian farmers a leg up on the trading industry. There is still a 30 day comment period, and the US government does have a chance to appeal the ruling. In the fall, there will be a public ruling making the decision final.
Canadian Cattlemen still believe the consumer has a right to know where their products have originated from, however the legislation of COOL is not the solution. It has acted not as a traceability tool, but more of a trade stopper then anything.
This is the first step to finding a real answer to the question of traceability on meat and other perishable food items.