CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork says pork producers on both sides of the Canada US border and US pork processing plants continue to suffer from the effects of US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (M-COOL), writes Bruce Cochrane.
As the result of requirements for US pork processing plants to segregate domestic origin pigs from foreign origin pigs to meet US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling requirements, most US processors stopped buying Canadian origin pigs.
In a ruling released last week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found changes to the legislation introduced in 2013 failed to bring the US into compliance with its world trade obligations and actually increased the level of discrimination against imported livestock.
Karl Kynoch, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says the restrictions have hurt both Canadian producers and US producers who had relied on Canadian pigs for finishing.
Karl Kynoch - Manitoba Pork:
A number of producers in the US who were buying their weanling supply from Manitoba, some of them lost that supply due to the fact that some of the processors in the US stopped buying any pigs that were raised in Canada and in turn they weren't able to find other stock down there to fill their barns.
We know some of the producers actually went out of business or they're sitting there currently with empty barns so that really did hurt the producers there.
The packers also had to restructure because they had to fill up that space that was missing from the Canadian pigs going down.
At the time it wasn't a huge drop but then since that they've also got short of pigs once in a while too so it's definitely put a little bit more strain on the packers in the US.
They were having to chase pigs a little bit harder.
Mr Kynoch says Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling has restricted trade and created huge challenges for the North American pork industry.
He adds fixing the legislation will allow US and Canadian producers to work together in harmony and get back to normal business.
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