March 23, 2018

Consumer Groups Applaud Court’s COOL Ruling

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday that the Country of Origin Labeling on meats can continue. COOL was put into effect last year, but the meat industry filed suit to block it. The court denied a preliminary injunction against COOL, so consumers will be informed about where the meat they buy is grown and produced.

Food LabelsFood & Water Watch is one of the groups in favor of the court’s decision. Wenonah Hauter, that agency’s executive director said in a statement, “The Federal Appeals Court correctly affirmed the legitimate consumer interest in being able to make informed choices about the origin and safety of their meat products. The court recognized that COOL labels should be transparent and informative enough for consumers to make these choices, including, as the Court observed, the consumer, ‘who believes that United States practices and regulation are better at assuring food safety than those of tother countries, or indeed the reverse, to act on that premise.'”

The Court found that meatpackers are “unlikely to succeed” in overturning COOL. Other groups involved in the lawsuit include R-CALF USA, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, and the Western Organization of Resource Councils. The groups’ amicus brief documented the justification of country of origin labeling for consumers to make informed decisions.

The 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills directed USDA to implement these labels. R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said in a statement, “we believe the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Meat Institute should honor this important court decision and cease their incessant attacks on our nation’s COOL law in their efforts to hide the true origins of meat from U.S. consumers.”

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