Trade organizations representing the interests of cattle and pork producers and meat processors in Canada and the United States have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), challenging country-oforigin (COOL) labeling regulations that took effect May 23, 2013. Am. Meat Inst. v. USDA, No. 13-1033 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.D.C., filed July 8, 2013). They seek declaratory and injunctive relief, an order vacating the final rule, attorney’s fees, and costs.

Explaining that meat producers and processors in the United States, Canada and Mexico have for years freely “commingled” livestock born, raised and processed across their borders, the plaintiffs allege that new requirements forcing them to “list separately, in sequence, the specific country where the animal was ‘born,’ the country where it was ‘raised,’ and the country where it was ‘slaughtered,’” will impose significant costs and entail extensive detail and paperwork for no health or safety reasons. They allege that the COOL regulations violate their First Amendment rights, the COOL statute and Administrative Procedure Act.