retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson yesterday refused to stop the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) "from requiring labels on packages of beef, pork, poultry and lamb sold in U.S. stores to include more specific information about the meat's country of origin.

Country of original Labeling (COOL) regulations were passed by the US Congress in 2002, but only became mandatory in 2012. However, meat packers in the US have fought against COOL, saying it would be expensive and a nightmare to implement. In addition, Reuters writes, "Canada and Mexico are challenging COOL before the World Trade Organization as a U.S. trade barrier. They prevailed in an earlier WTO case against COOL, which led to the revised regulation issued in May and now under dispute."

While the judge decided against the imposition of a preliminary injunction that would have delayed COOL implementation, the case itself needs to be decided - though likely not until 2015.
KC's View:
My position on this has been consistent - I believe in the maximum amount of transparency and clarity possible, and that people have a right know as much about their food as can be reasonably determined. The people and organizations that are against COOL tend to have reasons that strike me as largely economic and logistical - legitimate concerns, but not enough to trump the rights of consumers. besides, if they took the money they are spending to combat COOL and put it into implementation, it might not be a wash, but it might take some of the sting out of the costs.