| July 9
July 9 Eight meat and livestock groups from the
United States and Canada have asked a U.S. court to strike down
stricter U.S. meat labelling rules that they say have hurt U.S.
processors and Canadian farmers, arguing that they violate the
The suit, filed late on Monday, seeks to undo recent
revisions to four-year-old rules that required retail outlets to
label meat according to where it came from.
The country of origin labelling rules, known as COOL, have
led to lower U.S. imports of Canadian cattle and pigs, which has
hurt Canadian farmers and the U.S. processing plants that relied
on imported livestock. The rules are an effort to give U.S.
consumers more information about the safety and origin of their
food and some farm groups, particularly R-CALF USA, support
The World Trade Organization ordered the United States to
comply with WTO rules by May 23, but the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) made revisions to COOL that Canada and Mexico
said would only make the situation worse.
One example is the rules no longer allow co-mingling of most
muscle cuts from livestock in different countries within the
same package, which creates added cost to U.S. feedlots and
processors to segregate animals, said Mark Dopp, senior
vice-president of regulatory affairs at the American Meat
"When weighed against significant costs, we think this rule
doesn't make any sense," Dopp said on Tuesday.
The U.S. rule revisions, which took effect May 23, violate
the U.S. Constitution by compelling speech in the form of the
labels that does not directly advance a government interest, the
meat industry groups said, adding that the rules also impose
burdens on the industry with little or no benefit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture was not immediately
available for comment.
Last month, Canada said it would ask the WTO to approve its
proposed retaliatory measures against the U.S., including
tariffs on U.S. products meat, cherries, rice and other
products. Mexico said it was considering
suspending preferential trade tariffs with the United States
over the dispute.
Along with AMI, the other industry groups behind the court
action are the American Association of Meat Processors, Canadian
Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council, National
Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council,
North American Meat Association, and Southwest Meat Association.
The case is American Meat Institute et al v. United States
Department of Agriculture et al, U.S. District Court, District
of Columbia, No. 13-1033.
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by