WTO rejects US appeal over country-of-origin labeling

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) has rejected appeal from the US regarding the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat dispute between the US, Canada and Mexico.

WTO said that labels carrying information about where meat is raised discriminate against livestock from Canada and Mexico.

It said that the US must revise or repeal the COOL law in order to avoid retaliatory tariffs that are likely to be imposed on the US by Canada and Mexico.

The COOL Reform Coalition, however, said that the US industries will have a risk of losing billions of dollars if retaliation of the law is allowed.

Signed into American law in 2002, COOL requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets, and club warehouse stores to notify their customers about information regarding the source of certain foods.

The food to be labeled under the law include muscle cut and ground meats: beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.

Agricultural Marketing Service, an agency within the US Department of Agriculture, is responsible for administration and enforcement of COOL.

Both Canada and Mexico have filed challenges with the WTO saying that the COOL law is discriminatory and can reduce the value of their livestock in the US.

Source: food-business-review.com