The U.S. livestock and meat sectors were left searching for answers last week after the World Trade Organization (WTO) rul­ed the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law violates world trade rules.

The COOL law mandates that the packages of most beef, pork, poultry and lamb sold in the United States clearly list where the animal was born, raised and harvested. Canada and Mexico called the COOL law unfair and said it discriminates against imports from those countries.

In its ruling last week, the WTO sided with the petitioners and said U.S. COOL laws have "a detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities" of imported livestock "and, thus, accords less favorable treatment."

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