CPC Concerned Over U.S. Plans for Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council is expressing concern over renewed U.S. efforts to introduce mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for red meat products, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 21 March 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Introduced in the 2002 U.S. Farm Bill, mandatory Country of Origin Labeling has been twice delayed by the U.S. congress.

Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Martin Rice says many observers doubt there will be any further delays and expect COOL to become mandatory by the end of September 2008.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council

Unlike a lot of other trade issues we've had in the United States this one is not, in our view, Canada versus the U.S.

This is a problem for the whole North American hog and beef industries.

This is going to add significant costs to the value chain for delivering hogs and pigs because it will require a great deal of record keeping and systems for auditing and so on and those are costs that are not on the backs of the chicken sector or the turkey sector so it's going to create cost disadvantages for pork and beef vis a vie chicken.

At the same time it will maybe cause some people in the value chain, the retailers for example, to be less interested in dealing with those products because it does involve costs that they don't have for chicken and it could even deny consumers some of the current choices they have.

So we would fear that all these costs are going to be imposed on the supply chain and not passed along to consumers because consumers frankly didn't ask for this and are not likely to want to pay anything more for the products to accommodate it.

Rice notes mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for fish and shell fish, which took effect a couple of years ago, has not increased the price or the consumption of those products but has simply been an additional burden that sector has had to carry.

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