Lawsuit Over COOL Heated
Cattlemen Defend Country Of Origin Labels
The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) issued the following response last week to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by eight organizations asking the court to vacate the USDA’s country of origin labeling (COOL) final rule.
The plaintiffs include the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council, the American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, the North American Meat Association, the American Association of Meat Processors and the Southwest Meat Association.
The complaint filed on July 8 states that the plaintiffs in the case will seek injunctive relief to halt the implementation and enforcement of COOL regulations.
USCA President Jon Wooster of San Lucas, Calif., said, “The (World Trade Organization) recently reaffirmed the right of the United States to label products with country of origin information. The WTO ruling pointed out a need for the USDA to clarify the COOL rule. USDA’s final COOL rule did just that and took a step forward to bring the U.S. into compliance at the WTO.
“Poll after poll consistently indicates that consumers want to know the origin of their food. COOL has been implemented for over two years and has been embraced by both the retail sector and consumers. In fact, it appears that consumers favor additional information that includes the various production steps including where animals are born, raised and processed, which is exactly what USDA’s final rule will do. Reportedly, the costs to implement COOL have been negligible; this appears to be the case as well to implement USDA’s final rule to bring us into compliance at the WTO.
“We are disappointed that this action against COOL has been taken. The United States Cattlemen’s Association was founded on several basic premises, one being support for the effective and efficient implementation of COOL. We are committed to working with producers and consumers to preserve COOL.”