COOL-Country of Origin Labeling Update

 

  1. USDA issued its Country of Origin Labeling final rule on May 23rd. It was posted on the Federal Register on May 24th.
  2. The Final Rule took effect that day, but USDA said they would allow for a 6 month educational period. This means that they would not be enforcing the final rule during that time to allow plants to begin working on the implementation of the final rule.
  3. What does COOL require of the meat industry:
    1. Requires labels for muscle cut covered commodities to declare the country of origin regarding three production steps- born, raised, and slaughtered.
    2. Eliminates the ability to commingle products, which requires the segregation of livestock and products throughout the supply chain.
  4.  On July 8th, AAMP joined 8 other organization representing the U.S., Canadian and Mexican meat and livestock industries in filing suit against the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Tom Vilsack and Anne L. Alonzo to block the implementation of the COOL final rule. The Suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and is Case # 13-1033. We do not have a timeline as of yet for when the suit will be heard or which judge will hear it.
  5. The Lawsuit contains three counts.
    1. Violation Of The U.S. Constitution – The Revised Regulations Compel Speech in Violation of the First Amendment.
    2. Violation Of The Agricultural Marketing Act – The Final rule exceeds the Authority Granted by Statute.
    3. Violation Of The Administrative Procedure Act – The Final Rule is Arbitrary and Capricious.
  6.  On July 26th, AAMP and its 8 partners in the lawsuit asked the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to grant them a Preliminary Injunction. If granted, the injunction would prevent the implementation of the COOL final rule until litigation is finished on the original suit.
  7. Discussions are underway to set oral arguments for the week of August 19th.