- The American Meat Institute lost a bid to suspend country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules as a U.S. appeals court said the requirements don’t violate free speech rights or exceed regulators’ authority.
- Country of origin labeling, of the born, raised, and slaughtered production step on meat, went into effect in July 2013, though the meat industry sought to stop it.
- Though the decision upholds consumer transparency as paramount, there could be a major cost to the economy if neighboring countries impose retaliatory tariffs.
CEO of R-CALF USA, Bill Bullard said, “COOL is needed so U.S. livestock producers can offer consumers a choice to buy USA beef that is produced by U.S. farmers and ranchers.”
But the American Meat Institute disagrees. Interim president, James Hodges, said, "We disagree strongly with the court’s decision and believe that the rule will continue to harm livestock producers and the industry with little benefit to consumers.” The World Trade Organization (WTO) also estimates that because the labels are not conducive to international trade, Canada and Mexico may seek to retaliate against the U.S. with tariffs on exports like California wine, that could top $2 billion a year. Nevertheless, most people seem to believe they have a right to know the source of their food, no matter what other countries' reactions may be.