AGRIBUSINESS: U.S. and Canadian Groups Contest COOL Rule

A lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the mandatory country-of-origin labeling rule finalized by USDA in May. The suit – filed by eight organizations that represent the U.S. and Canadian meat and livestock industries – challenges the rule from three angles.

First – the groups claim the rule is unconstitutional. They argue the final rule violates the Constitution by compelling speech in the form of costly and detailed labels on meat products that don’t directly advance a government interest. The lawsuit contends the government can’t require the labels because they offer no food safety or public health benefit – yet impose costs the government modestly estimates at $192 million. They also argue the rule goes beyond the bounds of the original law and that it is arbitrary and capricious.

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