The United States has appealed a World Trade organization ruling Friday against its Country of Origin Labeling law. The ruling, issued last year, stated that the COOL requirements discriminated against livestock from Canada and Mexico, reports Dow Jones news.
The U.S. will defend the design of its so-called COOL labeling requirements for beef and pork, said Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office. While the world trade body backed the U.S. right to adopt labeling requirements, "we were disappointed that the Panel disagreed with the way that the United States designed its COOL requirements with regard to beef and pork," said Mead.
The ruling found that the U.S. labeling requirements treated the livestock from Canada and Mexico less favorably than domestic beef and pork products. It also determined that the rules did not fulfill the objective of providing consumers with information.
Both U.S. and Canadian beef producers had been pushing for the U.S. to comply with the ruling and make changes to remove any discriminatory measures of the labeling requirements. U.S. pork producers had also urged the Obama administration to avoid a "trade war."
However, U.S. consumer advocates complain that recent WTO rulings against U.S. meat origin and dolphin-safe labeling are undermining consumer protection measures.
Todd Tucker, research director, at Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, applauded the U.S. appeal, saying the WTO's legitimacy would be further undermined if the appeals panel upholds the November decision.
"The implications for this ruling are dire, especially in the context of a decades- long battle to ensure that consumers know the source of their meat," said Tucker.
Source: Dow Jones News