In papers filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, meat industry opponents to the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law dropped their longstanding case against the USDA.
The action ends the lawsuit the American Meat Institute originally filed in July 2013 that lost three rounds of court decisions.
”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,” North American Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter told Meatingplace in an emailed statement. “As [Agriculture] 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.”
Producer groups that support COOL, including R-CALF USA, Food & Water Watch, Western Organization for Resource Councils and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, issued a statement praising the end of the litigation.
“South Dakota Stockgrower members are proud of their USA born and raised cattle and we’re happy the courts have ruled that consumers can continue identifying USA beef with the COOL label,” said SDSGA President Bob Fortune.
The lawsuit had alleged the COOL law violated meat processors’ constitutional right to free speech by requiring the labels and that USDA had overreached its statutory authority by requiring the labels.