Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600

WASHINGTON (July 2, 2014) – More than 74 million Americans plan to celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend by enjoying a barbecue. About 900 million pounds of pork, beef and chicken will be purchased around the country this week. With all that meat on the grill over the weekend, consumers ought to know where that food comes from.

Fortunately Americans can clearly see the country (or countries) of origin of the meat products they buy at the grocery store. This information is included on the label or near the meat counter, and is called Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). This well-intentioned and useful label enjoys near-unanimous support from shoppers, with a May 2013 poll finding that more than 90 percent of consumers want COOL. Furthermore, 87 percent of adults favored a requirement for food sellers to indicate on the package the country or countries in which animals were born, raised and processed.

In a recent letter to Congress, 179 farm, rural, faith, environmental, labor, farmworker and consumer organizations also highlighted the importance of keeping COOL. It is very clear consumers continue to want to know more information about their food, not less.

Even though COOL is extremely popular, it has been under attack for decades. Even though basic origin information is required on nearly all consumer products, COOL for meat is still relatively new – it’s only been in effect since 2009.

Recent efforts by multinational meat companies and foreign competitors have sought to repeal COOL. These interest groups have declared war on the consumer’s basic right-to-know and are trying to scare Congress into going against the wishes of 90 percent of the American public.

On this Fourth of July weekend, National Farmers Union urges you to take time to exercise your right to know where your food comes from. Once the barbecue is over, put your right to free speech to use, too. Tell Congress to declare independence from “big meat” and to keep COOL.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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