Posted February 11, 2015

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dropped their U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to a Feedstuffs article available here. The Minneapolis Star Tribune also published an article here and Farm Futures here.
American Meat Institute (AMI) et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture et al. was originally filed in July 2013 by domestic and international meatpackers and trade groups to stop the labeling law that requires a label identifying where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered.
The meat groups stated that COOL violates the constitution by mandating speech without a public interest, and it creates unnecessary and costly burdens for producers and packers, according to Farm Futures.
The American Meat Institute, now known as the North American Meat Institute, which includes Minnesota-based Cargill and Hormel Foods, led the free speech lawsuit.
North American Meat Institute CEO Barry Carpenter issued the following statement:
“While we remain disappointed with the court’s ruling on country of origin labeling (COOL), we agree with the World Trade Organization’s assessment that the U.S. rule is out of compliance with its trade obligations to Canada and Mexico,” Carpenter said. “As (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack has said, a statutory fix is needed to bring the U.S. into compliance to avoid retaliatory tariffs and we’re committed to working with Congress to fix COOL once and for all.”
COOL supporters stated it provides additional information to inform customers’ buying decisions, according to Farm Futures.
“This is a clear and indisputable win for American consumers and producers, and it’s a huge relief to know that common-sense labeling laws, like COOL, can prevail in court despite the deep pockets of the multinationals,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson.
For more information on Country of Origin Labeling, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.