The Federal District Court for the District of Columbia recently held that mandatory country of origin labeling requirements for meat producers that require the disclosure of the countries in which food animals were born, raised, and slaughtered were reasonable. The American Meat Institute (“AMI”), representing meat producers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, brought a challenge to the regulations enacted by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2013. Through this lawsuit AMI was seeking a preliminary injunction regarding the implementation of the country of origin labeling requirements.
The recent Court decision clears the way for the full implementation of the country of original labeling requirements. However, this does not mean additional litigation will not follow. Additionally, recent news regarding a decision by the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) relating to country of origin labeling requirements may further complicate the matter. It has been reported that the WTO has reached a conclusion regarding a complaint that Canada and Mexico brought against the U.S. regarding the mandatory country of origin labeling requirements. As reported, the WTO has stated that the country of origin labeling requirements implement by the U.S. which required meat producers to place mandatory labels on meat packages identifying where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered are unfair.
This decision builds upon a previous ruling by the WTO in 2012 which also labeled that country of origin labeling requirements as unfair. The 2012 decision resulted in the new revised regulations approved by the USDA in 2013.Photo Copyright: tobi / 123RF Stock Photo