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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A World Trade Organization tribunal ruled today that the U.S. law requiring country-of-origin labeling for meat violates international trade law, essentially denying Americans the right to know where their meat comes from. The United States is likely to appeal, but the WTO Appellate Body has in the past consistently ruled against U.S. food safety and product labeling measures.
All this happens in the context of likely congressional consideration of Fast Track trade promotion legislation. Fast Track would grease the skids for congressional approval of the Trans Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership trade agreements, which are currently under negotiation. Both deals would undermine government regulatory authority to ensure that food is safe and that consumers can make informed decisions about which products to buy. Like the WTO, they would impose restrictions on food safety, labeling, and other environmental and health safeguards.