Late last week a U.S. appeals court rejected a food industry challenge to a federal regulation that specifies labeling requirements for certain meat products. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the 2013 regulation, which concerns country of origin details for muscle cuts of meat, can be enforced.
The controversial COOL has been hotly debated for years between those in agriculture interested in providing consumers with more information about their food and the meat industry concerned about the cost, logistics of the labeling and potential sanctions from the World Trade Organization.
Legal action was brought against COOL last year by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, North American Meat Association, American Association of Meat Processors, National Pork Producers Council, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.
In a statement, the American Meat Institute said it was disappointed by the ruling and disagreed with it. James H. Hodges, interim president of AMI, said the group is “evaluating our options moving forward.” The meat industry also argued that COOL violates First Amendment rights to freedom of speech by forcing meat producers to provide information about their products and offers no real value to the consumer.
Last week's ruling is expected to strengthened the previous 2009 regulation.
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