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Weekly Overview: Country Labelling Looks Likely to Go Ahead in US

12 September 2013

ANALYSIS - A US court has refused to block the passage of obligatory Country of Origin labelling on meat in the country so this looks to become mandatory in November despite opposition from farming and meat industry groups. Nepal's poultry industry has been hard hit by high-path bird flu in recent months - with 21 outbreaks reported in July alone - while the market in Italy is suffering with reduced demand following earlier outbreaks of the disease there.

The US District Court for the District of Columbia has refused to grant a preliminary injunction to block the implementation of the amended US mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) regulation.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and its partners are seeking an expedited appeal to US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn this decision.

Unless reversed, the district court ruling will allow the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to proceed to fully implement and enforce the COOL rule on 23 May.

The coalition's preliminary injunction motion argued that if the 23 May rule were to be enforced as the USDA plans to do in November, it would cause irreparable harm to the US meat and livestock industry. Furthermore, the move would also not be in the public interest.

The poultry industry in Nepal is struggling with H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), with 21 outbreaks involving more than 140,000 birds reported to the OIE in the month of July alone. Three regions were affected and chickens of all ages, mostly on commercial farms but also some backyard flocks.

In other news of bird flu over the last week, China has reported 134 human cases of avian influenza A (H7N9) up to the end of August. Italian farmers groups are making every effort to prevent a drop in demand for poultry products after one person was reported to have become infected with the virus from the birds with which he worked.

Yum! Brands in China is all too well aware of the consequences that adverse publicity relating to human health can have on subsequent demand. It has just reported the sixth consecutive month of sales below the previous year in China - down 10 per cent in August 2013 compared to a year before. KFC's sales even harder hit - all as the result of a 'poultry supply issue' in December.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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