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WTO panel rules on country-of-origin labeling case

A World Trade Organization panel ruled Tuesday that the United States has until May 23, 2013 to comply with the WTO ruling that found the U.S. country-of-origin labeling law in violation of WTO standards. The governments of Canada and Mexico have complained that the labeling law has led to discrimination against cattle and meat from their countries.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson noted that the WTO did not find fault with labeling, but with the way in which the law was implemented.

But Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund-United Stockgrowers of America COOL Committee Chairman Mike Schultz took a harsher tone.

“It is utterly ridiculous that our great nation is acting as if we are subservient to unelected foreigners at the WTO,” Schultz said.

The labeling law, which was passed as a part of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and amended in 2008, requires retailers to notify their customers of the source of certain foods.