U.S. appeals court upholds COOL rule

August 1, 2014

According to The Hill, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the Agriculture Department’s meat labeling rules. Upholding previous rulings, the court let stand the department’s country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements for cuts of meat. 

Despite challenges from industry groups including the American Meat Institute (AMI), the court found that the regulations satisfy a legitimate government interest to provide consumers with more information about where their meat comes from. The court argued that Congress has imposed similar mandates for more than a century, dating back as far as 1890. 

AMI had sought a preliminary injunction to block the rule’s implementation, charging that the regulations violate industry’s constitutional protection against compelled speech. The industry has warned the regulations would be economically devastating and would potentially drive some meat processors out of business.

Issued in 2012 and finalized last year, the COOL regulations require that meat packaging give more information about where the animals were born, raised, and slaughtered. The regulations were updated in response to a 2012 World Trade Organization ruling that previous labeling practices were unfair to Mexico and Canada.

The Hill article