Gerard Koudenburg

R-CALF filed a lawsuit with the Cattle Producers of Washington against the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding Country-of-Origin labeling, or COOL, for beef and pork.

The suit alleges that USDA regulations that allow beef and pork to be classified as “domestic products,” even when those meat products are imported from other countries, confuse consumers and harm American farmers.

U.S. COOL laws for meat were overturned by Congress in 2015 after the World Trade Organization granted retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. from Mexico and Canada. Under current USDA rules, however, multinational companies can sell meat raised and slaughtered abroad with a “Product of USA” label alongside domestic products raised by U.S. ranchers, according to the lawsuit.

An attorney for the groups’ says “consumers understandably want to know where their food comes from,” adding that COOL would help consumers make informed choices, and be a boon for U.S. cattle ranchers.