Mexico and Canada have succeeded in a joint effort to strike down an American regulatory policy passed in 2008 that requires country-of-origin labelling (COOL) on meat sold in the U.S. Public Citizen reports that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the U.S. in a case regarding the matter, a move that will potentially expose millions of Americans to "mystery" meat from unknown origins.

As a member of the WTO, and now the ominous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that allows foreign companies to bypass the American legal system, the U.S. is bound to certain international trade rules that supersede its own sovereign laws. These rules prohibit WTO member countries from engaging in so-called unfair trade practices that discriminate against other WTO member countries.

In this particular case, Mexico and Canada filed a dispute with the WTO claiming that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat labeling requirements deviate significantly from international standards, and unfairly discriminate against WTO member countries. COOL requirements end up making it easier for U.S. meat packers to source meat from domestic animals rather than foreign ones, for instance, which Canada and Mexico say puts the U.S. at an unfair economic advantage.

And the WTO Appellate Body that heard the case agrees, having ruled that mandatory COOL on meat sold in America violates WTO guidelines for fair trade. As long as the U.S. is a member of the WTO, in other words, it is not permitted to pass its own consumer safety laws if such laws are deemed to violate international free trade guidelines issued by foreign, unelected bureaucrats.

"Today's ruling makes very clear that these so-called 'trade' pacts have little to do with trade between countries, but rather impose outrageous limits on the most basic consumer safety policies on which we all rely," said Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, concerning the WTO ruling.

"The WTO announcing that big agribusiness corporations must be allowed to sell mystery meat here, despite U.S. consumers and Congress demanding these labels, is yet another example of outsourcing our legal system to international commercial bodies that push corporate interests."

The U.S. does not have to comply with the WTO ruling, of course, but it could be subjected to approved trade retaliation by Mexico and Canada if it does. NPR reports that the WTO decision will be finalized in about a month, and America will have 30 days after that to decide whether or not it will comply.

Source: npr.org