WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) decried today’s World Trade Organization (WTO) final ruling against U.S. country-of-origin (COOL) meat labeling policies. The United States could face large trade sanctions unless the Obama administration or Congress weakens a popular consumer information program.

“Accurate information is essential in a competitive, free market and COOL provides consumers with essential information about the origin of their food. With this ruling, U.S. meat producers will not be able to differentiate their products with a U.S. label and consumers will not have the information they need at the point of purchase.

“Beyond the implication for consumers, this ruling brings up troubling implications for our international trade agreements. The Administration has claimed that deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would not force us to change our laws or regulations. Today’s decision is proof that they are wrong. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said earlier this month that if we lose the final WTO ruling, as we now have, Congress may need to repeal the law. We have to get this right. That is why we cannot Fast Track this trade agreement. When fast track was first proposed in the 1970s, these agreements were mostly about lowering tariffs. The TPP covers 29 chapters and very few of them have anything to do with tariffs. We must ensure this 1,000 page document is not a Trojan Horse for repealing consumer protections and potentially threatening public health. The Administration should need no more evidence that we have to put the brakes on fast-tracking the TPP.”

DeLauro, a former Chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for funding the Agriculture Department, strongly believes that American consumers have a right to know the origins of their food. Congress mandated country-of-origin meat labeling in the 2008 Farm Bill, which DeLauro played a key role in passing.