Two livestock trade associations have filed a lawsuit against the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) alleging the agency’s 2016
repeal of marking and labeling regulations violates the Meat
Inspection Act and the Tariff Act. Ranchers-­Cattlemen Action
Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of Am. v. U.S. Dept of Agric.,
No. 17-­0223 (E.D. Wash., filed June 19, 2017). The Ranchers-Cattlemen
Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF)
and the Cattle Producers of Washington (CPW) assert that
the Meat Inspection Act requires that meat from animals
slaughtered outside the United States be “marked and labeled as
required for imported articles” and the Tariff Act requires
“conspicuous” marking “as to indicate to an ultimate purchaser in
the United States the English name of the country of origin of the
article.” After a World Trade Organization ruling against a U.S.
requirement to include country­-of­-origin labeling (COOL) on
imports of livestock from Canada and Mexico, USDA declared that
all beef and pork products were no longer subject to COOL
requirements. Additional details on the proceeding appear in
Issues 542 and 547 of this Update.

R-­CALF and CPW allege that USDA’s action violated trade laws by
allowing more than one billion pounds of imported meat to be
labeled and sold as products of the United States, flooding the
market with foreign goods and hurting U.S. cattle and hog
producers. The plaintiffs argue that USDA’s repeal accomplished
“the exact opposite of what the authorizing statute requires.” They
seek declaratory judgment that USDA’s failure to comply with
statutory marking and labeling requirements is unlawful, an
injunction, public notice of the challenged regulations and
attorney’s fees.

 

Issue 639

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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