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Court upholds COOL law; AMI disappointed with ruling

Court upholds COOL law; AMI disappointed with rulingTo the frustration of some in the meat industry, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit issued a decision Tuesday on the country-of-origin labeling law, or COOL law, saying it did not violate free speech.

The COOL law requires a label to be placed on meat packages according to where a product originated from that details where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

The court denied a request for a preliminary injunction to block implementation of USDA’s 2013 final rule on the law.

“The court’s decision today is disappointing.  We have maintained all along that the country of origin rule harms livestock producers and the industry and affords little benefit to consumers.  This decision will perpetuate those harms.” said James Hodges, AMI interim president and CEO. “We will evaluate our options moving forward.”

AMI and other meat and livestock organizations argued the final rule violates the US Constitution by compelling speech in the form of costly and detailed labels.

In the complaint, AMI and the meat and livestock organizations explained the final rule violates the US Constitution by compelling speech in the form of costly and detailed labels on meat products that do not directly advance a government interest. Opponents of the law called the final rule arbitrary and capricious because of the burden it places on the industry.

AMI jointly filed the lawsuit with the American Association of Meat Processors, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, Confedaracion Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association and the Southwest Meat Association.

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