U.S. Farm Bill Expected to Ease M-COOL Confusion

CANADA - The president of Paragon Economics is confident final passage of the 2008 U.S. Farm Bill will end much of the uncertainty surrounding the pending introduction of U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 28 May 2008
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Provisions for Mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling were originally outlined in the 2002 U.S. Farm Bill but its introduction has been pushed back several times.

Passage of the 2008 U.S. Farm Bill establishes the final basic framework for M-COOL and clears the way for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to draft rules.

Paragon Economics president Dr. Steve Meyer notes the 2008 version moves implementation from September 2008 to March 2009 and reduces the number of potential labels from five to four.

Dr. Steve Meyer-Paragon Economics

First it would be "Product of Country X" which would just be imported meat products from Canada and that's always been the case.

They've had to be labelled coming across the border.

They didn't have to be labelled at retail, they will have to do now.

Then there would be "Product of the U.S." which is pigs born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. and then there will be "Product of Canada and the U.S." which would really apply to any pig that has anything to do with Canada.

If it was born in Canada, raised and slaughtered here or born and raised in Canada and imported for slaughter that label would apply.

There's four categories.

It really boils down to three labels in this case, in the case of pork, since we don't import pigs from other countries other than Canada.

And for any of the product that we're kind of concerned about it would be just the two labels.

The important thing also to remember is it's only fresh retail products that have to be labelled.

So it's really a pretty small subset and that's one of the arguments against this process that I've had for a long time is we're going to have to track a lot of pigs in order to label a little bit of product.

Dr. Meyer says previous experience indicates, once Mandatory COOL takes effect, industry will be given plenty of time to adjust and to clear product that does not comply through the channels of commerce.

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