COOL lawsuit filed in U.S. court

A preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of the latest version of a country-of-origin labelling law was filed in a U.S. District Court yesterday by a coalition of North American meat processors and livestock organizations.

The injunction should be considered within weeks, although there is no specific timeline, said a news release from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

This action follows an earlier lawsuit filed July 8 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking to strike down the regulation.

The revised labelling regulation, which was released May 23, had greater requirements than the original law for labelling meat products from imported cattle and hogs. Canada and Mexico challenged the original law at the World Trade Organization, which ruled last year that it discriminated against hogs and cattle exported to the United States.

The preliminary injunction motion argues that if the May 23 rule were to be enforced as the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to do in November, it would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. meat and livestock industry and is not in the public interest.

Coalition members include the American Association of Meat Processors, the American Meat Institute, the CCA, the Canadian Pork Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council, the North American Meat Association, the Southwest Meat Association and most recently, Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.

Last month, the federal government released a list of American commodities that could be targeted for retaliation in relation to the COOL dispute. The government said it could seek retaliatory compensation of approximately $1.1 billion following the completion of ongoing WTO proceedings, which will move forward independently of this U.S. based litigation.