lawsuit papers
SPOKANE, Wash. – A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit aimed at reinstating country-of-origin labels on beef and pork items, but not before agreeing with the plaintiffs in the case that ranchers had been harmed by the federal government’s decision to eliminate COOL.

“The fact that the court agreed with us that independent pork and beef producers are harmed by COOL makes it even clearer that the Trump Administration and Congress must act now to protect them,” said David Muraskin, lead counsel for Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF).

“This movement has been gaining ground outside of court, and we expect it to continue doing so despite this ruling,” he added.

R-CALF and the Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) sued the US Dept. of Agriculture because imported beef products labeled as made in the USA hurt domestic beef producers. The organizations argued that the Tariff Act of 1930 requires imported beef to bear a country-of-origin label unless the beef is substantially transformed in the US.

The federal government, in court documents, called the lawsuit “…an effort to do an end run around Congress’s statutory mandate” removing beef and pork from mandatory country of origin labeling requirements. In 2015, Congress repealed mandatory country of origin labeling for beef and pork as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), or Omnibus bill.

US District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf sided with the government and dismissed the ranchers’ lawsuit stating that time had run out for the ranchers to challenge the underlying legislation for country-of-origin labeling which was created in 1989. The statute of limitations expired in 1995.

“While obviously disappointing, the outcome of this case highlights the urgent need for the new Administration and new Congress to reverse the harm to US cattle producers brought about by the actions of the previous Administration and Congress,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.