Meat coalition seeks preliminary injunction in COOL case

A coalition of meat and livestock organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico filed a motion with the U.S. District Court Thursday seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent implementation of the recently amended U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulation.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, one of the coalition members, said the motion was filed pending resolution of a lawsuit filed July 8.

COOL, in place in the U.S. since 2008, requires meat to be labelled with the country of origin. After a challenge by Canada, it was ruled out of order by the World Trade Organization in 2011. But USDA in May, up against a deadline to make COOL WTO-compliant, revised COOL’s labelling provisions for muscle cuts of meat, requiring labels to include even more specific information about where each of the production steps (born, raised, slaughtered) took place. USDA’s new rule also removes the previous rule’s allowance for commingling of muscle cuts.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said that COOL previously cost Canadian producers about $25 to $40 per head, but USDA’s amended rule will increase the impact  to about $90 to $100 per head.

Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations joined the lawsuit this week. Other members include the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, CCA, Canadian Pork Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association and Southwest Meat Association.

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