U.S., Canadian and Mexican Meat Organizations Seek Injunction Against Country Of Origin Labeling

Nine organizations representing the U.S., Canadian and Mexican meat and livestock industries on July 26 asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to grant a preliminary injunction against country-of-origin labeling.

Today's filing was part of a lawsuit filed July 8 seeking to block implementation of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (“COOL”) rule, which was finalized by USDA in May. In today's filing, the groups said that they had a high likelihood of success in their case and that enforcement of the rule, even temporarily, would cause irreparable harm to the industry and have severe economic impacts that are not in the public interest.

Plaintiffs include the American Assn. of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen’s Assn., Canadian Pork Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Assn., Southwest Meat Assn. and Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.

USDA proposed the new rule in March after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in response to a complaint by Canada and Mexico that the existing country-of-origin labeling requirements violated the U.S.' WTO obligations. In what the nine groups call "a highly illogical move, USDA made COOL requirements even more complex and discriminatory against foreign meat and livestock, and Canada and Mexico have already made clear that the new rule does nothing to ease the concerns that prompted their original complaint."

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