Meatpackers take another swing at labeling regs

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The American meatpacking industry is making an eleventh hour push against regulations requiring labels saying where their products were born, raised and slaughtered, according to a report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

A so-called country-of-origin labeling rule (COOL), unveiled months ago, is slated to take effect on Saturday.

The regulations are meant to both provide consumers with more information about where their food comes from and bring the United States in line with international standards following a 2012 World Trade Organization (WTO) finding that current rules discriminate against Mexico and Canada.

But industry groups have pushed back, saying the regulations would cripple the industry and force companies out of business.

In July, a coalition of groups launched a legal challenge of the COOL rule, calling it unconstitutional. A federal court sided with the Agriculture Department, prompting an appeal in September.

Meanwhile, Tyson Foods, Cargill Inc. and other meatpackers are mounting a last-minute lobbying push in Congress, with hopes of blocking the rules, potentially via language in the farm bill now under consideration, according to the Journal.