WASHINGTON — Eight meat industry groups from the United States and Canada have sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the country-of-origin labeling rule finalized in May .
The American Meat Institute, American Association of Meat Processors, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association and Southwest Meat Association joined in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
The groups argue that the rule violates the Constitution by compelling speech without a substantial government interest; goes beyond the intentions of the original mandate; and is arbitrary and places undue burden on the industry.
“Congress mandated country-of-origin labeling for meat and poultry — not lifetime itinerary labeling,” Mark Dopp, AMI senior vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel, said in a statement. “Segregating and tracking animals according to the countries where production steps occurred and detailing that information on a label may be a bureaucrat’s paperwork fantasy, but the labels that result will serve only to confuse consumers, raise the prices they pay, and put some producers and meat and poultry companies out of business in the process. Everyone loses under this rule.”
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