A rancher in eastern Washington has reportedly sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in federal court, seeking changes to its country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules for beef products. According to a news source, Easterday Ranches claims that the regulations are adding to costs for the U.S. beef industry and consumers. Apparently, cattle born in other countries must be segregated from domestic animals and cannot be slaughtered on the same day; extensive records must be kept and buyers must keep the meat separate in processing plants. Easterday’s president reportedly claims that commercial buyers are paying far less per head for Canadian or Mexican cattle, and there is no premium price being paid for U.S. cattle. He also contends that the regulations do nothing for food safety and contradict the North American Free Trade Act. See Tri-City Herald and meatingplace.com, October 28, 2008.

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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.