Beef and pork sectors oppose US labelling plan

CANADA - Canadian beef and pork producers want Ottawa to step up its opposition to a United States plan to place country of origin labels and tracking rules on their meat products.
calendar icon 9 October 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

The Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Cattleman's Association say the labelling plan would cost their industries more than $500 million a year and would violate North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organisation rules.

The proposed country of origin labelling, to become effective in September, would force U.S. importers of Canadian cattle and pigs to slaughter them separately from US animals and package the meat with a sticker reading "From Canada and the United States." Meat from animals born, raised and processed in the United States would be labelled "Product of the USA."

The Canadian producers fear their American partners, such as slaughter facilities and supermarkets, won't want the extra hassle and will stop buying Canadian animals.

"We believe very strongly that this violates the United States' trade obligations to Canada," said Canadian Cattlemen's Association spokesman John Masswohl.

The groups are calling on Ottawa to lobby US senators to try to stop the proposed law from passing. The federal government cannot launch an official challenge until the law goes into force.

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