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Published September 16, 2013, 09:36 AM

US court denies request to block COOL

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 11 denied a request to block implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Country of Origin Labeling regulations.

By: Agweek Staff Report,

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 11 denied a request to block implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Country of Origin Labeling regulations.

If granted, the injunction from the U.S. meatpackers, as well as the Canadian and Mexican beef and pork industries, would have blocked implementation until a lawsuit filed July 8 is concluded.

USDA recently wrote new, stricter COOL laws for retail packaged meat after the World Trade Organization found the old requirements violated trade laws. The new laws follow WTO guidelines, but the meatpacking industry still is unhappy. Although the industry sued USDA over the new rules, as of now, a trial will not be granted.

“The judge’s ruling to deny the injunction on COOL regulations continues to reinforce NFU’s positive position on COOL,” says Woody Barth, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union. “We have long supported COOL and the consumer’s desire to know where their food comes from.

We are pleased that the packer-producer organizations and foreign interests’ attempts to thwart COOL have been denied. We are committed to defending COOL and will continue to do so throughout this legal process.”

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, also praised the decision, as did Alan Merrill, Montana Farmers Union president.

“We have long supported COOL and will continue to defend the law and support National Farmers Union in its intervention in the legal process along with the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America,” Merrill says.

“American agricultural producers are proud of their productive efforts, and American consumers want to know where their food comes from. We are happy that the packer-producer organizations and foreign interests’ attempts to stop COOL have been denied.”

Gilles Stockton, a member of Northern Plains Resource Council and rancher, also was in favor of the decision.

“It’s nice to see that the judge saw that this was an attempt for the plaintiffs to simply limit their competition. I hope now that the NCBA and [American Meat Institute] will stop wasting everybody’s time on this futile fight to derail COOL.”

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