Challengers to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules requiring meat products to indicate where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered reportedly will not continue to pursue their claims, according to a stipulation of dismissal. Am. Meat Inst. v. USDA, No. 13-1033 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.C., stipulation filed February 9, 2015).
The meat and poultry groups lost their First Amendment challenge to the mandatory labeling rules in the D.C. Circuit Court and were later denied a rehearing. The stipulation comes after a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against the United States in favor of Canada and Mexico, which argue that the rules discriminated against their livestock producers. “While we remain disappointed with the court’s ruling on country of origin labeling (COOL), we agree with the World Trade Organization’s assessment that the U.S. rule is out of compliance with its trade obligations to Canada and Mexico,” North American Meat Institute CEO Barry Carpenter reportedly said. “As USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has said, a statutory fix is needed to bring the U.S. into compliance to avoid retaliatory tariffs and we’re committed to working with Congress to fix COOL once and for all.” Additional information about the WTO ruling appears in Issue 542 of this Update, and details of the D.C. Circuit’s decision appear in Issue 532. See Law360, February 10, 2015.