(NAFB)--According to the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association - a decision regarding the motion filed by plaintiffs asking the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia to temporarily enjoin the country of origin labeling (COOL) rule published by USDA is expected this week. USCA, National Farmers Union, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America filed an opposition to the preliminary injunction motion and presented arguments during an August 27th hearing. At that time - the judge suggested she would issue an opinion within 14 days. USCA President Jon Wooster says this is a critical juncture in the lawsuit. If the court grants the motion - USDA will be blocked from implementing its revised COOL regulations during the pendency of the litigation. He says a preliminary injunction would place the U.S. out of compliance with its trade obligations under the WTO by returning the market situation to the 2009 regulations - which were found to be inconsistent with U.S. obligations.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Meat Institute and National Pork Producers Council are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Wooster says the plaintiffs argued that modified COOL rules issued by USDA this year - among other things - violate their First Amendment rights, exceed USDA’s authority granted under the statute and are arbitrary and capricious. As defendant intervenors - USCA, NFU, ASI and CFA argued that the rules pass constitutional scrutiny and further the long-standing and judicially recognized governmental interest in assuring consumers have access to accurate country of origin information and reduce consumer confusion. USCA and the other defendant intervenors are hopeful the court will deny the preliminary injunction motion.