US Court Throws Out Country of Origin Labelling Injunction

US - The US District Court for the District of Columbia has refused to grant a preliminary injunction to block the implementation of the amended US mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulation.
calendar icon 13 September 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and its coalition partners the American Meat Institute, American Association of Meat Processors, Canadian Pork Council, Confedaracion Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association and the Southwest Meat Association will be seeking an expedited appeal to US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn this decision.

Unless reversed the district court ruling will allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to proceed to fully implement and enforce the May 23 COOL rule.

The coalition’s preliminary injunction motion argued that if the 23 May rule was to be enforced as USDA plans to do in November, it would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. meat and livestock industry and that the impacts are not in the public interest.

The CCA is part of a coalition of meat and livestock organizations in the US, Canada, and Mexico that filed a lawsuit on 8 July seeking to strike down the USDA 23 May revision to the COOL regulation.

As part of that lawsuit, on 22 July, the coalition filed the preliminary injunction motion with the Court to block implementation of the COOL regulation prior to the resolution of the lawsuit.

CCA President Martin Unrau viewed the ruling as another step in the ongoing battle over COOL.

“The CCA has a compelling case and we look forward to the appeal” he said.

“The cost of COOL to Canadian producers and industry is unacceptable and we will continue until a viable remedy is reached.”

On the other side of the argument the US National Farmers Union has welcomed the decision.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said: “The judge’s ruling to deny the injunction on COOL regulations continues to reinforce NFU’s positive position on COOL.

“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.

“I am thankful for the support of other organisations, our members and others who have supported the U.S. COOL Defense Fund. This undertaking has not been taken lightly and we appreciate those who have helped provide funding to ensure that we are represented in the most effective manner.”

The US NFU, along with the US Cattlemen's Association, American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America, became intervenors in the lawsuit on 19 August, when the court entered an order granting their motion to intervene in full, permitting the groups to participate in the preliminary injunction hearing as well as the remainder of the litigation.

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