Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
May 19, 2014, Argued; July 29, 2014, Decided
[**320] [*20] Williams, Senior Circuit Judge: Reviewing a regulation of the Secretary of Agriculture that mandates disclosure of country-of-origin information about meat products, a panel of this court rejected the plaintiffs' [***3] statutory and First Amendment challenges. The panel found the plaintiffs unlikely to succeed on the merits and affirmed the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction. On the First Amendment claim, the panel read Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel, 471 U.S. 626, 651, 105 S. Ct. 2265, 85 L. Ed. 2d 652, 17 Ohio B. 315 (1985), to apply to disclosure mandates aimed at addressing problems other than deception (which the mandate at issue in Zauderer had been designed to remedy). Noting that prior opinions of the court might be read to bar such an application of Zauderer, the panel proposed that the case be reheard en banc. The full court shortly voted to do so. Order, American Meat Institute v. USDA, No. 13-5281, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 6240 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 4, 2014) (vacating the judgment issued on Mar. 28, 2014, and ordering rehearing en banc). We now hold that Zauderer in fact does reach beyond problems of deception, sufficiently to encompass the disclosure mandates at issue here.
* * *
] Congress has required country-of-origin labels on a variety of foods, including some meat products, 7 U.S.C. §§ 1638, 1638a, and tasked the Secretary of Agriculture with implementation, id. § 1638c. In the original statute, Congress did not define "country of origin," [***4] leaving that to the agency. Pub. L. No. 107-171, § 282, 116 Stat. 134, 533 (2002). After delaying the statute's implementation, see, e.g., Pub. L. No. 108-199, § 749, 118 Stat. 3, 37 (2004), Congress amended it in 2008 to define "country of origin," Pub. L. No. 110-234, § 11002, 122 Stat. 923, 1351-52 (2008). See also 153 Cong. Rec. 20,843 (2007) (statement of Rep. Peterson) (explaining the 2008 amendment as a compromise to allow the delayed country-of-origin mandate to go into effect). For meat cuts, at least, the amended statute defined country of origin based on where the animal has been born, raised, and slaughtered—the three major production steps. 7 U.S.C. § 1638a(a)(2).
The Secretary, whom we refer to interchangeably with his delegate the Agricultural Marketing Service ("AMS"), first promulgated rules in 2009. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, 74 Fed. Reg. 2658 (Jan. 15, 2009) ("2009 rule"). The rules did not demand explicit identification of the production step(s) occurring in each listed country, but called more simply for labeling with a phrase starting "Product of," followed by mention of one or more countries. 7 C.F.R. § 65.400 (2010). The 2009 rule also made allowance [***5] for a production practice known as "commingling." This made the labeling of meat cuts from animals of different origins processed together on a single production day relatively simple; the label could just name all the [*21] [**321] countries of origin for the commingled animals. Id. § 65.300(e)(2), (e)(4).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
760 F.3d 18 *; 411 U.S. App. D.C. 318 **; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14398 ***; 36 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 483; 44 ELR 20173; 2014 WL 3732697
AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE, ET AL., APPELLANTS v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, ET AL., APPELLEES
Subsequent History: Rehearing, en banc, denied by, Petition denied by Am. Meat Inst. v. United States Dep't of Agric., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20939 (D.C. Cir., Oct. 31, 2014)
Prior History: [***1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:13-cv-01033).
Am. Meat Inst. v. United States Dep't of Agric., 968 F. Supp. 2d 38, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129099 (D.D.C., 2013)Am. Meat Inst. v. United States Dep't of Agric., 746 F.3d 1065, 409 U.S. App. D.C. 96, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5710 (D.C. Cir., 2014)
consumers, disclosure, deception, labeling, country-of-origin, commercial speech, advertising, disclosure requirements, governmental interest, en banc, mandates, Meat, regulation, products, uncontroversial, misleading, restrictions, disclaimers, messages, articulated, farmers, food, substantial interest, reasonably related, country of origin, ranchers, warnings, cases, rational basis review, food safety
Constitutional Law, Freedom of Speech, Commercial Speech, General Overview, Governments, Agriculture & Food, Advertising