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Court rejects COOL challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld USDA’s mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meat after a challenge by industry groups.


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The American Meat Institute, National Pork Producers Council and other trade groups had sued USDA over COOL regulations last year, calling the new requirements “arbitrary and capricious.”

“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,” AMI interim president and CEO James Hodges said in a statement. “At this point we are evaluating our options moving forward.”

At the same time, animal welfare and farming groups applauded the ruling.

“We’re pleased that the Court has rejected the absurd notion that meat producers have a First Amendment right to hide the origins of their products,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, SVP and chief counsel for animal protection litigation for The Humane Society of the United States, which was part of a coalition that submitted a brief supporting COOL. “Just as consumers deserve to know where their meat comes from, they also deserve to know how that meat was produced and if inhumane practices were involved.”

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