US appeals WTO ruling against national meat labels

WASHINGTON — The United States is appealing a World Trade Organization decision that would make it harder for US consumers to know from where meat in the grocery store came.

The WTO in October rejected US rules requiring labels on packaged steaks, ribs, and other cuts of meat identifying where the animals were born, raised, and slaughtered. The WTO said the ‘‘country of origin labeling’’ requirements put Canadian and Mexican ranchers at a disadvantage.

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On Friday, the Office of the US Trade Representative appealed the ruling.

US farmers who compete with Mexican and Canadian ranchers welcomed the appeal. National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson on Friday called it ‘‘the right thing to do for American family farmers, ranchers, and consumers.’’

Meatpackers oppose the labeling requirements, saying they impose costly paperwork.