U.S. M-COOL Could Reduce Interest in Producing Pork in Canada

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council warns, if U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling reduces Canadian access to U.S. processing plants, interest in producing pork in Canada will probably decline, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 November 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The details are not yet final but Mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling is widely expected to take effect September 30, 2008.

Under the current proposal pork from pigs born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. will be required to be labelled as "product of the U.S.", pork from pigs originating in Canada but slaughtered in the U.S. will be labelled as "product of Canada and the U.S." and pork from pigs produced and slaughtered in another country will be labelled "product of that country."

CPC executive director Martin Rice says the burden on U.S. packers of maintaining separation of Canadian and American pigs may impact the ability of Canadian producers to access U.S. slaughter.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council

It's essential even if we don't export very much because the Canadian industry has so few players anymore and so for us to have a strong industry in Canada with two big buyers and two or three medium ones we really do need some other buyers and to keep this industry working in coordination with the United States industry.

So our prices need to reflect the North American market.

There's so much integration in our markets that if prices in Canada because of lack of access to American slaughter houses causes our own market to be soft and pig prices to fall relative to the United States you'll see a serious decline in interest in raising pigs in Canada and also a decline in the pork processing activity here.

Rice suggests, if Mandatory COOL does move forward, there will still be opportunities for Canadians to ship pigs into the U.S.

He points out pork destined to go to processing will be exempt as will pork destined for export.

He notes the U.S. imports about ten percent of the pigs needed for processing and the U.S. exports about 15 percent of its production.

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