“If you want to know where your meat came from, you won’t be happy with the World Trade Organization right now. Late last week, the WTO announced that the United States’ country-of-origin labels, which took effect in 2008, discriminate unfairly against foreign meat suppliers such as Mexico and Canada.
Some consumer groups were outraged by the WTO’s decision; the beef industry, not so much. The ruling could mean that the U.S. will have to abandon those labels, but hang on, maybe not. In the world of international trade, the wheels of justice turn very slowly indeed. Years are likely to pass before you’ll see any change in those food labels, as U.S. officials figure out a way to comply with the WTO ruling.
In fact, officials at the Office of the US Trade Representative are holding out hope that the labels will survive. They point out that the WTO didn’t object to the labels themselves, but rather the system for implementing them.
Here’s the difficulty with that system. Unlike, say, corn fields, animals tend to move around, so it’s a little more difficult to say where they came from…”
Free Trade Ruling Could Nix US’ Country-of-Origin Labels On Meat