Constitutional Challenge Reshapes US Attitudes on Mandatory COOL

US - The executive director of the Canadian Pork Council says a constitutional challenge has helped reshape American attitudes on US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 30 December 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

In May, in response to a World Trade Organization (WTO) order to amend Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (M-COOL) to bring it into compliance with American treaty obligations, the US added additional labelling requirements for red meat and prohibited the mixing of product from different countries.

In response, a coalition of eight American, Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat industry organisations challenged the new rules citing provisions in the US Constitution pertaining to Freedom of Speech.

Canadian Pork Council executive director, Martin Rice, says that challenge has helped reshape attitudes in the US toward Mandatory COOL.

Martin Rice - Canadian Pork Council

That case was brought quickly after the new rule to seek an injunction against the implementation of the new rule to hold it back from going into effect.

That has not been successful but an appeal is underway and we'll see developments on that in the new year.

It's obliviously something that has generated additional opposition in the United States and, in our view has changed the views of a lot of participants, a lot of parties in the US that now see COOL as something which has really brought unnecessary and considerable costs and regulatory compliance burden without offsetting benefits while there are substantial analysis showing that there has not been any benefit in terms of increasing the prices of livestock to producers which was probably the original motivating factor for them to pursue this legislation.

Mr Rice says the hope remains that the labelling issue can be resolved through the US Farm Bill or some other legislative mechanism without the need for further action through the US courts or through the WTO.

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