US farming and consumer groups defend COOL

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

US farming and consumer groups defend COOL

Related tags Meat Beef Lamb Livestock Pork Poultry

A coalition of food, farming and consumer groups have filed court papers to defend US Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) from a lawsuit launched by meat processors.

R-CALF USA, Food & Water Watch, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and the Western Organization of Resource Councils petitioned the court to allow them to intervene in the lawsuit, which was filed by nine trade associations including Mexican and Canadian livestock groups as well as six US meat processing groups.

The lawsuit alleges that the USDA’s May amendment to COOL rules violates the groups’ constitutional rights and would not benefit consumers. However, the food and farming groups argue that consumers want COOL, which would require cuts of beef, pork, lamb and goat meat to display where the animal was raised, born and slaughtered.

Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter: “The meatpackers are demanding a first amendment right to deceive consumers by insisting on vague and misleading labels that do not let consumers choose all-American beef, pork and lamb products.

“Consumers overwhelmingly support, use and deserve Country of Origin Labelling because they want to know the source of the food they are feeding their families.”

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said that COOL would also help US farmers compete with the flood of foreign meat imports.

“In this global market, more imports from more countries are entering the US each year and foreign meatpackers are trying to capture market share away from US family farmers and ranchers. COOL allows US cattle farmers and ranchers to highlight their product to US consumers whom we believe will choose our exclusively US produced product if they can identify it in the market,”​ he said.

He added that the US meat processors and Canadian and Mexican livestock groups wanted to “control the market”.

The meat processing alliance is today (27 August) due to argue for a preliminary injunction to stop COOL from being implemented pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

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