What The Meat Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know
It’s a familiar story. When corporate titans want to stifle consumer rights, they turn to government to implement laws that restrict the public’s access to information. And the rare times when government enacts a law expanding consumer rights, these same corporations will use their might to tear down the law.
Now it’s “Big Meat” pointing their guns at Washington and the public interest. Eight meatpacking industry groups have filed suit in U.S. courts to block implementation of a rule requiring meat to be labeled for country of origin (known as COOL or country-of-origin labeling).
Their absurd defense is that the rule would violate their right to free speech by compelling them to provide information. They also claim the rule is arbitrary and capricious, going on to list all sorts of ways the meat industry would be harmed by telling people where their meat came from.
The industry complaint makes the profound statement, “Beef is beef, whether the steer or heifer was born in Montana, Manitoba, or Mazatlán. The same goes for hogs, chickens, and other livestock.”
They insist that federal inspected establishments do the job of ensuring that all meat is up to health and safety standards, even though illegal chemicals have been found in foreign-sourced meat. Big Meat uses federal government as a foil, even though government demonstrates time and time again that it either lacks the ability or the interest in keeping our food safe from chemicals and GMOs and a host of other threats.
The “right to free speech” argument is the same used by the tobacco industry as it fought enhanced warning label requirements on cigarette packages. U.S. courts have become friendlier to the corporate war on consumer rights. Big Meat knows there is a good chance that their “right to free speech” will trump the rights of people buying their products.