D.C. District Court Dismisses Country of Origin Labeling Lawsuit
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed the lawsuit filed by meatpackers and trade groups against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of a meat labeling law that required a country of origin label (COOL) identifying where an animal was born, raised, and slaughtered.
The meatpackers and trade groups stated that COOL violates the constitution by mandating speech without a public interest and creating burdens for meat producers and packers. Proponents of COOL responded that it provides additional information for customers to use to inform their buying decisions.
While the US courts have spoken on this issue, the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute on the labeling law continues. In October, 2014, the WTO issued a ruling that the COOL labeling law violates technical barriers to trade agreements because it provides less favorable treatment for Canadian and Mexican livestock. The United States has filed an appeal of this ruling, and a report by the WTO may be released by May, 2015.