Meat Groups Sue USDA Over Point of Origin Labels

Gaga will be thrilled.
Gaga will be thrilled. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

A coalition of trade groups and meat packers announced a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture that challenges a rule that went into effect last month requiring producers to include basic information about where animals were born, raised, and killed on meat labels. An executive with the American Meat Institute says the rule, which is part of the department’s COOL, “may be a bureaucrat’s paperwork fantasy, but the labels that result will serve only to confuse consumers, raise the prices they pay, and put some producers and meat and poultry companies out of business in the process.” Is it confusing to know if a lamb is born in Canada and slaughtered in Wyoming? The USDA says implementing country of origin information will cost between $53 and $192 million and is designed to better inform consumers in an age of bogus proteins. The National Grocers Association, on the other hand, estimates it’ll cost “at least” $100 million for new signs and label-makers. In a separate but related USDA initiative, producers can now also label products that are GMO-free. [AP, Related, Related, Related]