Proposed Delay in US COOL Allows Opportunity for Improvement

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1385. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 1 December 2003
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Manitoba Pork Council

Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1395

The Canadian Pork Council says a proposed two year moratorium on the implementation of US Country of Origin Labelling offers opportunity to make the system more acceptable.

A joint Senate-House conference committee for the fiscal year 2004 Omnibus Appropriations package has recommended delaying mandatory Country of Origin legislation for all products except fish, both farm-raised and wild, until 2006.

CPC Executive Director Martin Rice says, while the proposed delay came as something of a surprise, it is good news.

"This two period has been viewed as an opportunity for the very major controversy over Country of Origin Labelling to be addressed, to find ways to make Country of Origin Labelling more acceptable to a broader cross section of the industry.

I'd say there were a lot of people that were surprised by it and I'd say we were expecting, at best out of this process, a one year restriction on the US Department of Agriculture to fund the enforcement of COOL.

That was really not very satisfactory in that it was going to leave it in place. The law would have been in effect and US retailers would still have felt some obligation to live in accordance with it.

The idea of putting a moratorium on implementation of the entire system for two years, let alone one year, essentially gives us at least two years breathing room and we would expect some things will happen in those two years to mitigate the enormous market disruption and cost that it was going to entail".

Rice says, if the program was made voluntary it would not have the trade distorting impact that a mandatory system would have.

He says a voluntary system could also be tailored to meet the individual needs of those who believe it can add value to their products without imposing unnecessary costs.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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