Freedom of speech is considered one of the greatest freedoms in the United States. Unfortunately people, especially lawyers, like to use this as an excuse to fight anything that people claim and do. Right or wrong does not really matter, and forget about intend the founding fathers had. It serves as the means to allow our children to buy R rated video games, by preventing legislation on sales limitations in retail stores.
One of the silliest things I lately saw was a speech from one of these lawyers. He is fighting in the name of the meat industry against the current COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) law, giving a positive outlook on the pending preliminary injunction, highlighting the importance of it etc. in front of 300 members of the meat industry at the NAMA management conference in Rancho Mirage.
This lawyer’s livelihood depends on fighting the lawsuit (not winning it). He tells a very uplifting motivational speech on the positive outlook of the pending decisions, while the industry audience listened to what they wanted to hear. He and his colleagues lost the preliminary injunction by now, they will lose the final decision as well. While the WTO will listen to the complaints of the meat industry again sometime this year or next, it most likely will not rule in the favor of the industry either.
There is no reason why anyone reasonable would prevent this law from happening:
- A recent international study found that consumers are willing to pay up to $.05/lb for origin claims more in the world. This clearly means that there is value for the industry, producers and farmers. If anything, we need probably more regulations on product claims, not less.
- Legislation for cool claims in general date back to 1887, when Great Britain established the first law of this kind. So this is not exactly new to the world.
- COOL in one way or another, via “Made in USA” have been established in the United States since the 1930s, so it is not really new in the New World either.
- Finally, very similar law has been established in the European Union for all its members as well as companies that would like to export to the EU. Filing a complaint to the WORLD Trade Organization claiming that this is unlawful implies that more than 30 countries in the law behave unlawful today.
Cool has passed and it is here to stay. The industry can spend as must as they want on lawyers and keep wasting their funds. Or, they could invest into standards and technologies that reduce the costs and the impact of this legislation. We have today software that deals with almost any regulatory burden. Traceability is not different. Advanced plant traceability systems like the one from CSB-System Int’l, Inc. allows tracing of attributes through the process accounting for comingling of these features to ensure accuracy and precision of these claims. Systems like Ftrace ensure that the information is available to consumers in a standardized and cost efficient manner. These systems make the burden of traceability not only bearable, they increase the profits for those that organize themselves efficient and effective. Think about it!