After House passage of a bill to repeal the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law, the Senate appears headed toward similar action. At least, prominent players in the food industry are urging it to take that step.

In testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee, North American Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter said the law must be repealed to bring the US into compliance with WTO obligations and to avoid a possible $3 billion in annual penalties. Carpenter said the most vocal defenders of COOL are trying to block the importation of livestock from Canada and Mexico.

“It is and always has been a non-tariff trade barrier,” Carpenter said. “Anyone ignoring this fact is not a serious participant in this discussion.” Carpenter also told lawmakers repeal is the only option, and rewriting the law is simply not viable.