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NAMA Calls COOL Decision Damaging

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Washington, DC - The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today denied a preliminary injunction to block the implementation of onerous Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements. North America Meat Association and its members are sorely disappointed by this decision. 

“This decision will have real consequences and, at a time of rising meat prices and record low herd size, they will be damaging,” said NAMA CEO Barry Carpenter. “In the absence of preliminary relief, NAMA members and the industry at large will suffer irreparable harm.”

NAMA and the other plaintiffs still believe that the law is on our side in this matter. We intend to appeal this decision to protect the interests of our members.

As well as NAMA, plaintiffs in the suit include the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, Confedaracion Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, and the Southwest Meat Association. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture COOL rule is in violation of the First Amendment and is arbitrary and capricious, said the associations in their filing. The rule imposes vast burdens on the industry with little to no countervailing benefit. It is compelling speech, in the form of costly and complex labels that do not directly advance a government interest. Although mandatory labeling may seem simple, complying with the labeling requirement will require fundamental structural changes in the meat industry that were never intended by Congress. It will have a huge negative impact on our members. 

With representatives in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and a community of more than 600 companies, North American Meat Association provides its members exceptional regulatory advocacy, educational opportunities, and a spirit of partnership that is unique in the industry.

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