Eight organizations representing the United States and Canadian meat and livestock industries filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the implementation of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule finalized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in May 2013.
In their complaint, the meat and livestock organizations explained that the final rule violates the U.S. Constitution by compelling speech in the form of costly and detailed labels on meat products that do not directly advance a government interest. In addition, the organizations explained that the 2013 regulation exceeds the scope of the statutory mandate, because the statute does not permit the kind of detailed and onerous labeling requirements the final rule puts in place, and that the rule is arbitrary and capricious, because it imposes vast burdens on the industry with little to no countervailing benefit.
The plaintiffs include the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association and the Southwest Meat Association.
The American Sheep Industry Association policy strongly supports continuation of COOL for lamb meat.