WTO nixes U.S. rules on meat labels

(AP) In a ruling Monday, the World Trade Organization rejected U.S. rules requiring labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat identifying where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The WTO said the requirements put Canadian and Mexican livestock at an unfair disadvantage. In 2012, the WTO had ruled against the country of origin labeling requirements, which Congress originally wrote in 2002. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rewrote the rules to win WTO approval. But Monday’s ruling held that the revised guidelines still violated trade rules. The WTO said the labeling requirement forced meatpackers to segregate and keep detailed records on imported livestock, giving them an incentive to favor U.S. livestock. The WTO’s decision was a victory for ranchers who do business with Mexico and for meatpackers, who said the labels imposed a paperwork burden. The ruling was a defeat for some U.S. farmers and consumer groups.

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