Posted: Sep 13, 2013 7:43 PM by Alex Backus - MTN News
Updated: Sep 13, 2013 7:44 PM
On Wednesday, a U.S. District Court denied a preliminary injunction, or order, from meatpacking organizations to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) implementation of new country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) regulations.
According to the North American Meat Association press release: "The rule imposes vast burdens on the industry with little to no countervailing benefit. It is compelling speech, in the form of costly and complex labels that do not directly advance a government interest."
The new labeling will require labels to indicate where the animal was born, raised and processed.
Right now, the labels are only required to list product of origin.
Following complaints filed from Canada and Mexico earlier this year, the World Trade Organization told the USDA to modify its rules because they were out of compliance.
Montana Stockgrowers Association says they continue efforts to put forth a labeling program that allows consumers to build brand loyalty around high quality, U.S. born and raised products
"[There's a] Fairly strong sentiment amongst ranching community in Montana to preserve the integrity and to put into place a country-of-origin labeling protocol for fresh meat, beef in particular, in the United States," said Errol Rice, Montana Stockgrowers Assoication Executive VP.
Consumers who spoke with KRTV are also supporting the new labeling.
"I think it's important to know where it's coming from, how it's getting there. It just has to be important to people because there's so many things out there that are not good that they're doing," Joyce Owens said.
Grocers agree; Great Falls grocery market 2J's only sells USA meat, and say their selections are about quality, not cost.
"Basically it's the right thing to do," said Michael Vetere, 2J's general manager. "It's what I would do for my family. I buy what we sell, and a lot of my thoughts and a lot of people at the store's thoughts are, if we wouldn't buy it should we be selling it?"
Vetere says it's important to present consumers with information about their food and their customers ask for it.
Now, the World Trade Organization will determine the next steps regarding new labeling. Officials at the Montana Stockgrowers Association say that could take between eight to 10 months.
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