COOL Stays in Effect
March 28, 2014

North American meat producers lost a bid to suspend new country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules as a U.S. appeals court said the requirements don't violate free speech rights or exceed regulators' authority.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said in a decision today that groups seeking to delay the rule until a lower court decides the merits of their case are unlikely to succeed in either their free speech arguments or their claim the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had gone too far with its labeling demands. Therefore, the USDA COOL guidelines will stay in effect.

The regulations, which were adopted in May and took full effect in November, require producers to specify the country or countries where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Retail packages can't mix muscle cuts from different countries under a general label.

The American Sheep Industry Association has policy supporting COOL.