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United States to appeal WTO ruling on labelling

The United States have announced plans to appeal a World Trade Organization ruling against a law that requires country-of-origin labels (COOL) on all meat sold in US grocery stores.

The labels became mandatory in 2009 and requires grocers to put labels on cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and ground meat or post signs that list the origin of the meat.

COOL provision
In November, a WTO panel ruled against the COOL provision of the law saying it violated technical barriers to trade. Canada and Mexico, which brought the case to the WTO, applauded the decision, arguing that shipments of cattle and hogs from those countries declined sharply after COOL went into effect.

Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative's office, said the ruling last November confirmed the United States has the right to adopt mandatory COOL requirements to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

She said, "We were disappointed that the panel disagreed with the way that the United States designed its COOL requirements. Accordingly, we are challenging the panel's report before the WTO Appellate Body.”

Meat-packing plants
Many US meat-packing plants, especially those near the US-Canada border, either stopped accepting Canadian livestock or bought less due to the increased costs of segregating animals by domestic and foreign origin.

Both Canada and Mexico were are disappointed by the US move. Canadian agriculture minister Gerry Ritz responded to the US appeal: "The WTO panel decision recognised the integrated nature of the North American supply chain and marked a clear win for our industry. We are confident that the decision will be upheld so trade can move more freely, benefiting producers and processors on both sides of the border.”

Mexico's economy ministry said Friday that it would defend its interest in the appeal process.

Related website:
World Trade Organization (WTO)

Editor WorldPoultry


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    So the US wants us to know what country our meat comes from but doesn't want us to be able to decide whether we want to eat GMO's or pesticide laden products?

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    No, the US wants to be exempt to the rules so they can also sell cheaper Canadian and Mexican Beef without any extra cost for segregation. This I dont understand seeing as they are different products. Most US CAFOs regularly use antibotics and growth hormones (look at your daughters). This is no better than when they relaxed Certified Organic Rules for the US to able to export more meat into Canada. People have the right to know where food is grown and what's in it. One more excuse they will use to say we need the North American borders. Guess who will make the rules for us all...

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    What is the bone of contention on knowing the product's country of origin? I thought it meaningful if they wanted to distinguish whether GMO or not

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