Oct 20, 2014 2:05 PM

WTO rejects US country-of-origin labels for meat

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) The World Trade Organization has rejected U.S. rules requiring labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat identifying where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

In a ruling Monday, the WTO said the requirements put Canadian and Mexican livestock at an unfair disadvantage.

In 2012, the WTO had ruled against the "country of origin labeling" (COOL) requirements, which Congress originally wrote in 2002. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rewrote the rules to win WTO approval. But Monday's ruling held that the revised guidelines still violated trade rules.

The decision was a defeat for consumer groups and some farmers, especially those who compete with Canadian ranchers. It was a victory for ranchers who do business with Mexico and for meatpackers, who said the labels imposed a paperwork burden.


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