Proposed Modifications to US M-COOL Could Increase Discrimination Against Imported Livestock

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council suggests proposed modifications to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling will increase rather than eliminate the discrimination against live cattle and hogs imported into the US from Canada and Mexico, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 March 2013
clock icon 2 minute read
Manitoba Pork Council

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US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling requires American retailers to identify the country of origin of a range of food products.

In response to a World Trade Organization order to bring the legislation into compliance with its WTO obligations by 23 May, the USDA issued a proposed rule to modify provisions for muscle cut covered commodities.

Canadian Pork Council executive director Martin Rice says the proposed rule fails to address the situation.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council

The proposal actually increases the labelling burden in that it now requires the locations of the production, the birth, the processing all to be indicated on the label so this is probably going to increase the number of labelling options that processors would need to be in compliance with if they chose to still purchase any non US born animals.

It also eliminates co-mingling which did give some flexibility to US processors to choose to for certain limited amounts of time combine meat from animals that would be subject to different labels.

The couldn't call it Label-A, I.E. the US product but they could put some product which would have been subject to a US label along with product from a B-Label which is born outside the US but raised in the US as well as C which is born and raised outside the United States.

None of the mixing can happen any more so this increases the segregation requirements and burden for the US processing industry.

Mr Rice says, if the proposed rule moves forward unchanged, Canada will be in position to request a follow up WTO investigation and seek permission to impose retaliatory tariffs on US products imported into Canada.

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