Meat labeling continues to be a contentious issue in the wake of a recent ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Wall Street Journal reports that this body is blocking the controversial Country of Origin Labels (COOL) that producers in Canada and Mexico say will greatly hamper their respective meat industries. These labels would tell consumers exactly where the animals that provided the meat were processed.
The WTO has decided in favor of those countries, as the panel assigned to the decision said that the current U.S. policy treats non-American meat products unfairly. This decision not only shows the seriousness of specific food labels: It has provoked previous critics of the policy to speak out again.
Canada has, in particular, criticized the COOL approach in the past. This time, the source notes that Canada’s Trade and Agriculture Ministers, Ed Fast and Gerry Ritz, have taken up the cause against the U.S., which could appeal the WTO’s motion.
“Canada will be watching this situation closely to ensure U.S. compliance in accordance with the WTO’s clear ruling,” they said. “We will continue to fully assert our rights to achieve a fair resolution to our concern, including seeking authorization to implement retaliatory measures on U.S. agricultural and non-agricultural products if and as necessary.” They also called the policy as it stands “blatantly protectionist.”
The WTO has ruled against COOL two other times, according to the CBC. Over time, this labeling system could potentially cost Canada alone $1 billion.
With all of this at stake, meat producers have to think about other labels that convey important information but don’t violate existing rules. Label printing software helps businesses make packaging that respects the law.