WTO ruling upholds country-of-origin labeling for beef, pork

WASHINGTON — The World Trade Organization has issued its final decision in the U.S. appeal of a case brought by Canada, and separately by Mexico, against the U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labeling law (COOL) for beef and pork.

The decision affirms the legitimacy of country-of-origin labeling and the guiding principles behind the rule.

Requires labeling

In a split ruling, the WTO appellate body upheld the lower panel’s affirmation of the United States’ right to require country of origin labeling for meat and reversed the lower panel’s finding that COOL violates Article 2.2 of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement.

The appellate panel also found that COOL achieves a legitimate policy objective by providing consumers with information about the food they eat, reversing the lower panel’s finding.

The WTO appellate panel agreed with the lower panel that the methods by which meat packers segregate cattle for harvest imposes a burden on Canadian cattle.

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