The newest attempt to impel the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to reinstall Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rules failed. A federal judge in New Mexico granted motions on Aug. 27 by appellant Tyson Foods Inc., JBS USA, Cargill Meat Solutions, and National Beef Packing Co., to disband the two combined cases regarding the long-fought COOL issue.
In 2013, USDA passed the COOL rules that made it compulsory to label the meat with the birth, rearing and slaughtering place of animal. Canada and Mexico declared that COOL labeling scheme has exploited them financially and challenged the USDA rule before the World Trade Organization (WTO) which they won. The WTO’s ruling allowed Canada and Mexico to inflict billions in punitive tariffs unless the COOL rule is withdrawn by the US.
Congress folded by abolishing COOL by the end of 2015 and the USDA watered down its labeling requirements as per Canada’s and Mexico’s liking. Meat sold under “Product of USA” labels regularly includes foreign product, as per the critics. That’s because the “Product of the USA” label can be used even if the is of foreign origin but is processed in the United States.
The integrated cases that the judge tossed connected cattle rearers and consumers in claiming “Product of USA” labeling amounts to illegal and deceptive activities because cattle raised in a foreign country and imported for killing and processing can qualify for the label, deceiving consumers.
However, the jurist did not perceived it in that manner and found the governing bill for labeling leaves the matter within the USDA’s administration. And, the judge ruled the USDA is within its authority of regulated country-of-origin labeling and it was not mandatory to ascertain if that labeling might be fallacious.
The complainants are amending their prospects for appeal. The USDA is also setting up plans that might lead to a harsher standard for use of a “Product of USA” labeling standard.
Currently, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also accepting comments since Sept.14 on its proposal titled “Made in USA Labeling Rule.”
The FTC aspires to boost up the “Made in USA” labeling requirements to reserve the USA label only for products in which all major modifications leading into the product are done in the United States, and also all raw materials of the product are manufactured and gathered in the United States.
The FTC is specifically welcoming suggestions from the public if there are any current bills, rules, or schemes that may conflict with the commission’s proposal.
A conflict thus appears to have been set up between the USDA and the FTC.  The FTC seeks to make sure that only those products that are actually formulated in the USA bear a “Made in the USA” label, whereas the USDA policy that says that a foreign beef product entering the USA and is undergoing only minor processing can have a “Product of USA” mark.


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