Well, mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is now the law of the land, or is it?

The outrage was palpable when it became obvious that beef packers had no intention of bearing all the cost of mandatory COOL and just intended to take advantage of the multiple countries of origin label, and place it on all product.

Then came the announcement that the label could only be used if there was product from other countries processed on that day. Of course, it is all about the letter of the law, so one could soon imagine a pen of Canadian or Mexican feeder calves at every packing plant to make sure that one gets processed every shift.

The stakes are high. Either the industry accepts the fact that mandatory COOL is going to apply to an even smaller percentage of the product than anticipated, or the law is going to have be reopened and reworked once again.

Everyone knew the original law was a terrible piece of legislation. The original legislation will cost the industry billions, which we can't afford; and the revised version, is going to allow packers to skirt the intent of the law.