US Food Industry Groups Propose Voluntary Country of Origin Labelling

by 5m Editor
28 January 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1434. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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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 1434

The US based National Pork Producers Council is viewing a two year delay in the implementation of mandatory COOL as an opportunity to develop a more workable voluntary system.

A US spending bill, which effectively delays the introduction of mandatory Country of Origin Labelling for two years, is now on its way to the desk of President Bush for final approval.

The National Pork Producers Council is part of a group of US producer organizations and food processors, retailers and wholesalers that's proposing a voluntary program.

NPPC President Jon Caspers says a meeting next month will discuss what a voluntary system should look like but pork producers have a few priorities.

"Certainly if we're going to have a voluntary program, we like the idea of that. If there is a small segment of consumers that would desire that information, if there are producers that can put together a product with a label and identify a consumer base that's interested in paying for that product, we think that's a better way to take advantage of some kind of a niche market like that.

Certainly we're going to be looking at ways to reduce costs of putting that product together. The mandatory legislation really only applied to retail products so it excluded more than half the products coming out of a hog today.

All the processed products would not carry a label. All the products going into restaurants and food service wouldn't carry a label.

When you limit the number of products that you potentially can sell and get a premium for it really makes it more difficult to get enough pounds to generate that extra revenue coming back to the farm to make it pay".

Caspers says the hope is that this two year delay can be used to examine the true costs and benefits of this bill and to develop something of benefit for those who can identify a market and capitalize on it.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor