NW Feedlot company loses label lawsuit

A NW feedlot company, Easterday Ranches, filed a and lost a suit against the USDA over the COOL laws. Cattle Network reports in detial the ruling.

In a memorandum sent Friday to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), R-CALF USA explained that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (Court) recently issued an order that addresses a principal argument contained in the complaints filed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law by Canada and Mexico. The order stems from the lawsuit that Easterday Ranches Inc. (Easterday) filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the U.S. COOL law. In that litigation, Easterday argued that the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s marking rules, established to implement the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), provide that beef derived from the slaughter of imported cattle in the U.S. market is entitled to be designated as a product of the USA. Easterday further argued that as a result of these preexisting marking rules (NAFTA marking rules), the COOL law improperly requires beef from such imported cattle to be labeled as a product of both countries – Canada and the United States.

The Court disagreed. In its Feb. 5, 2010, order the Court found that the COOL law can coexist with, and does not repeal, the preexisting NAFTA marking rules because these rules are for purposes of tariff designation in a customs setting, while the COOL law applies to retail products, and because the COOL statute neither covers the whole subject matter of the NAFTA marking rules nor does the COOL law present an irreconcilable conflict with those rules.

Read full article here.

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