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Appeals Court Upholds Country of Origin Labels on Meat

Want to know where your dinner came from? A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld new government rules requiring labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The meat industry has attempted to block the rules, saying they are costly and provide no health benefits to the consumer. The industry said that the rules go beyond what Congress intended and violate First Amendment rights to freedom of speech by forcing meat producers to provide information about their products without "directly advancing a government interest." Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia wrote that the government's interest in country-of-origin labels is "substantial" because there is a long history of such disclosures, a demonstrated consumer interest, and individual health concerns and market impacts that could arise if there is a foodborne illness outbreak in one of the countries. The lawsuit was led by the American Meat Institute, which represents the nation's largest meatpackers, and joined by other meat industry groups.

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-The Associated Press