Groups Seek to Intervene in COOL Lawsuit

Attorneys have filed documents with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the U.S. Cattlemen's Association, National Farmers Union, Consumer Federation of America and American Sheep Industry Association. They are seeking to intervene in the lawsuit filed in July seeking an end to the U.S. country of origin labeling program. If granted intervention - the four organizations will present arguments in defense of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service regulations on COOL. While the groups are hopeful the court will make a decision on the motion for intervenor status in the near future - there is no specific time limit for such decisions. The Court has scheduled a hearing on the preliminary injunction motion brought by nine plaintiff groups for August 27th. A response to the motion for preliminary injunction by the Department of Justice was due to be filed Friday. The plaintiffs are then due to file their reply to the opposition papers on the preliminary injunction motion by the 16th.

USCA President Jon Wooster says this is a very important step in the intervention process. He's hopeful their voices will be able to be heard at the important preliminary injunction hearing phase. Wooster says the joint effort with three other groups on this request for intervenor status provides the court with a significant representative sampling of both the U.S. livestock production sector as well as consumers. NFU President Roger Johnson says NFU, USCA, CFA and ASI will continue to support COOL on behalf of U.S. family farmers and ranchers and American consumers - working hard on the issue until these arguments are put to rest and the law remains intact once and for all.

A recent CFA study found that 90-percent of a representative sample of one-thousand adult Americans favored - strongly or somewhat - requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country of origin of fresh meat they sell. In addition - 87-percent favored - strongly or somewhat - requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country or countries in which animals were born, raised and processed. Ninety-percent of the adults also favored - strongly or somewhat - requiring food sellers to indicate on the package label the country or countries in which animals were born and raised and the fact the meat was processed in the U.S. NFU's Johnson says there's no denying U.S. consumers want to know where their food comes from.

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