The National Farmers Union Friday announced that it intends to intervene in the lawsuit filed July 10 against the USDA seeking to nullify the USDA’s May 23 final rule regarding Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

If granted an intervention, NFU, along with partnering organizations – U.S. Cattlemen's Association, Consumer Federation of America and American Sheep Industry Association – intend to defend the COOL regulation, which requires muscle cuts to be labeled based on where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

Nine groups filed the original lawsuit, arguing that COOL violates World Trade Organization obligations by creating consumer bias against imported goods.

Specifically, they alleged that the COOL rule: 1) violates the U.S. Constitution by compelling speech in the form of detailed labeling on meat products that do not directly advance a government interest; 2) exceeds the scope of the statutory mandate, because the statute does not permit the kind of labeling requirements the final rule puts in place; and 3) imposes burdens on the meat industry with little to no benefit.

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