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Country-of-Origin Labels Repealed for Beef, Pork

(CN) - Most beef and pork sold in the United States no longer requires a country-of-origin label after such requirements were stripped through an omnibus budget attachment passed by Congress.

The country-of-origin labeling rule, or COOL, was repealed under the federal spending bill passed by Congress on Friday. President Barack Obama also signed the bill.

On Dec. 7, the World Trade Organization, or WTO, said Mexico and Canada can charge more than $1 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods if COOL labels were not removed. The decision came after the WTO found that the labels discriminate against meats raised and slaughtered outside the United States.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it will be amending COOL regulations as soon as possible to reflect the repeal of beef and pork provisions.

The agency also noted that all imported and domestic meat will continue to face rigorous food safety inspections.

"The omnibus bill repealed the country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for muscle cuts of beef and pork, and ground beef and pork," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "Effective immediately, USDA is not enforcing the COOL requirements for muscle cut and ground beef and pork outlined in the January 2009 and May 2013 final rules."

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