Among the first official acts of the Obama administration was a directive from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to all federal departments and agencies not to finalize any pending rule and to extend final-rule effective dates for 60 days. According to a news source, the block affects a Department of Agriculture rule that established requirements for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat and other perishable foods. A regulatory analyst for a Washington-based government watchdog group reportedly observed that the freeze would “give USDA an opportunity to tighten up the rule.” Critics have apparently said that the Bush rule could weaken distinctions between U.S. and
imported meats by allowing domestic facilities that process domestic and imported animals to carry a multi-country label. See Bloomberg.com, January 21, 2009.

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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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