WASHINGTON (March 28, 2014) – Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied plaintiffs’ appeal of a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction would prevent revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations from remaining in effect while the plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging the COOL regulations proceeds. Today’s ruling affirms a Sept. 11, 2013, decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that also denied the request for a preliminary injunction. As a result of today’s decision, the revised COOL regulations will remain in place while the case is pending.
“I am extremely pleased with today’s decision,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union (NFU) president. “Yet again, claims that the revised COOL regulations are unconstitutional or inconsistent with the COOL statute have been rejected in federal court.”
“Today’s decision notes that COOL advances legitimate values, including consumer information and consumer choice. The Court of Appeals also explained that COOL labels can be seen as a sign that retailers ‘take pride in identifying the source of their products.’ NFU’s family farmer- and rancher-members certainly take pride in the products they produce, and I am glad that consumers will be able to continue to identify their products at retail as a result of today’s decision.”
Today’s decision is the latest setback for plaintiffs who filed the case in an effort to have the revised COOL regulations invalidated. The case was filed on July 8, 2013, by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, North American Meat Association, American Association of Meat Processors, National Pork Producers Council, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.
NFU, together with the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America, intervened to defend the COOL regulations from challenge, and they actively participated in a briefing at the District Court and the Court of Appeals, as well as the preliminary injunction hearing at the District Court.
Johnson is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the World Farmers Organization’s fourth general assembly, where many of the speakers have discussed the need for farmers to connect more directly with consumers and be more transparent to enhance consumer confidence.
“I note that plaintiffs may seek to have today’s decision reheard by the full Court of Appeals. If they do so, NFU will continue to defend COOL on behalf of our members,” said Johnson. “In the meantime, producers and consumers will continue to benefit from improved origin information as the revised COOL regulations remain in effect.”