The World Trade Organisation has ruled that labels on red meat in the United States that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered will have to be dropped or revised.
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the WTO has rejected a final U.S. appeal, deciding that the U.S. “country of origin” labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.
The Obama administration had previously revised labels to try to comply with WTO obligations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that if the WTO ruled against the final U.S. appeal, Congress will have to weigh in to avoid retaliation – such as extra tariffs – from the two neighbour countries. . .
Though the ruling went against the U.S., it’s a victory for the U.S. meat industry, which has said the labels are burdensome. Meat processors quickly called for repeal of the labelling laws after the WTO decision.
Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement calling on the United States to repeal the labelling rules and saying they will seek authorization from the WTO to take retaliatory measures against U.S. exports.
The joint statement of Canadian and Mexican agriculture and trade officials said the rules cause Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat to be segregated from those of U.S. origin. The labeling is “damaging to North America’s supply chain and is harmful to producers and processors in all three countries,” the officials said. . .
I don’t support compulsory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) but I don’t understand why labels which give consumers information on which they might want to base their purchases has been disallowed.