beef

A meat industry already imperiled by federal budget cuts is lashing back at the Obama administration following the release of new proposed labeling regulations seen as costly and unnecessarily onerous.

The new regulations, to be published Monday for public consideration, are meant to resolve last year’s finding by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that U.S. rules give American meat products an unfair advantage over those from Canada and Mexico. If the WTO violation is not remedied by May 23, America’s top two meat-trading partners could impose damaging sanctions in the form of tariffs against U.S. meat producers and packers.

The new rules amend country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules enacted in 2009 to better inform consumers about where their food comes from. Industry groups oppose the rules because they have forced U.S. meat packers to take steps to segregate the products, driving up costs.

In light of the WTO ruling, the groups urged the government to scrap the rules altogether, through congressional action if necessary.