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Beef magazine reports that the US District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has decided to vacate its own previous decision to rule against a request by, among others, the American Meat Institute (AMI), that would have prevented the implementation of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rules.

The original decision would have required retailers to list country of origin as well as provide information on when and where animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

According to Beef, "The move for the court to vacate its own decision is unusual, observers say. All 11 judges who sit on the appeals court will now review the case, with oral arguments set for May 19."

In a prepared statement, AMI's senior vice president of regulatory affairs/general counsel Mark Dopp said, "We had strong concerns with the reasoning in the March 28 ruling.  Today’s court order to vacate the ruling signals that some members of the court may share those concerns. We remain hopeful that consideration of the case by the full Court will lead to an injunction against the protectionistic and costly country of origin labeling rule that is hurting livestock producers and meat companies while offering little benefit to consumers."

The suit, Dopp said, maintains that" the final rule violates the United States Constitution by compelling speech in the form of costly and detailed labels on meat products that do not directly advance a government interest," and he described the mandated COOL rules as "detailed and onerous labeling requirements" that are "arbitrary and capricious," imposing "vast burdens on the industry with little to no countervailing benefit."
KC's View:
Except maybe the benefits to consumers, who might like to have the option of knowing where the meat they are eating is coming from.

There seems to be a bit of a mystery about why the court changed its mind. However, when I saw this story, I immediately thought of Frankie Pentangeli from The Godfather, Part Two. Anything is possible.

Except maybe full transparency when it comes to COOL. I understand why there are people in the meat industry who think this is a bad thing, but I remain convinced that the constant arguments against COOL in the long run will be worse for the business. One opposes transparency at one's own risk.