While the rules is being contested in court by meat industry stakeholders and the governments of Canada and Mexico, mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat requires that retailers identify the specific country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
The labeling rule covers muscle cuts of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and goat. Processed, deli, and ground meats are exempt.
Oral arguments against the rule are scheduled for Jan. 9, 2014, in federal court.
Labels have previously only been required to list the countries through which the meat passed. The new label rules require more specificity, such as “Born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the U.S.” The new rule also disallows less-specific mixed-origin labels such as “Product of the U.S. and Canada.”
Proponents of COOL say that consumers have a right to know where their fresh meat originates. The U.S. meat industry largely opposes the rule, saying it invites international sanctions against trading meat with the U.S., as U.S. customers would possibly shy away from foreign-raised meat.
Canada and Mexico, two of the biggest importers of meat to the U.S., have also challenged the law through the World Trade Organization.© Food Safety News