Meat Industry’s Protest of Labeling Rules Chopped
Federal regulations forcing meat producers to include country-of-origin labeling on their products is not forced speech, a federal judge ruled.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture adopted new regulations for country of origin labeling - or COOL - in May 2013. The regulations ended a longstanding practice by retailers and processors to commingle meat from animals with different origins to package and sell them together.
Eight groups led by the American Meat Institute filed suit in July against the USDA and the Agricultural Marketing Service, claiming the regulation violated the meat industry’s First Amendment rights.
U.S. District Judge Ketanji Jackson dismantled the industry’s argument in her 76-page ruling Wednesday, concluding that “the plaintiffs’ failure to demonstrate either a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable injury” warrants dismissal.
The industry claimed that it had, for decades, relied upon two-way trade in livestock and meat products in which animals may be born in one country, raised in another and slaughtered in yet another, then packaged and sold together.
More: Courthouse News Service