Meat and Poultry Industry News / Regulations

Judge blocks suspension of COOL rule

March 31, 2014
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A federal appeals court has refused to suspend the country-of-origin labeling laws, stating last week that the requirements don’t violate free speech or exceed the USDA’s authority. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said in its decision 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 had gone too far with its labeling demands, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

“The [American Meat Institute’s] argument that the rule unlawfully ‘bans’ commingling fails at a key first step -- the 2013 rule does not actually ban any element of the production process,” U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams wrote for the three-judge panel. “The necessary changes to production are, to be sure, costly for the packers,” he said.

James H. Hodges, the interim president of AMI, said in a statement that the group disagrees with the court’s decision and is evaluating its options.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

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