October 10, 2013
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted four groups’ motion to intervene in a lawsuit involving country of origin labeling (COOL) rules, American Meat Industry, et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to an article by the Butte County Post, available here.  The motion to intervene is available here.
The groups, R-CALF USA, Food & Water Watch, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, and Western Organization of Resource Councils petitioned to intervene in the lawsuit to defend COOL on behalf of the U.S. cattle industry and consumers.
Silva Christen, Executive Director of the South Dakota Stock Growers Association, said, “We are pleased the Court has granted us permission to defend the opportunity for U.S. cattle producers to have their U.S. beef products properly labeled so they can be chosen by U.S. consumers.”
 “Consumers, farmers and ranchers have tirelessly fought to implement COOL and the Court’s ruling allows the eaters and producers to join together again in defense of a common sense rule that allows families to know where their food comes from,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.  A press release from Food & Water Watch is available here.
The lawsuit, American Meat Institute, et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, was filed on July 8, 2013, alleging that the COOL final rule violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, violates the Agricultural Marketing Act, and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.  The complaint is available here.  The District Court Judge recently denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stop implementation of the final rule.  The memorandum opinion is available here.
The COOL final rule, available here, became effective on May 23, 2013 and modified certain provisions of the COOL regulations after the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that aspects of the regulations violated U.S. trade obligations.  The final rule requires labels on certain cuts of meat to provide information on where it was born, raised, and slaughtered. 


For background information on the lawsuit and WTO ruling, recent posts from this blog are available hereand here.  For more information on COOL, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.