Last week I warned, “A safer food supply cannot wait.” Here is yet another reason, according to news reports this morning, Mexico has now suspended meat imports from 30 processing plants in 14 states, including some of the nation’s largest (and ones I have sued), on Wednesday and Friday, according to a list posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site. USDA spokeswoman Amanda Eamich said in an e-mail that Mexico had discussions over the course of the last five business days with the agency regarding concerns about the general condition of meat products, sanitation issues and "possible pathogen findings."
Published reports, however, raised the possibility the move could reflect Mexico’s objection to a recently enacted law that requires meat products to bear country-of-origin labels. The country-of-origin labeling law (COOL) mandates the separation of foreign cattle and pigs in U.S. feedlots and packing plants. Foreign animals are also required to have more documentation about where they come from and, in the case of cattle, must have tags that indicate they are free of mad cow disease.
If our focus was in fact on food safety, domestically or with imports, COOL would be unnecessary and trade would not be interrupted.