M-COOL to be Less Onerous than Feared

CANADA - Paragon Economics says the USDA's interim final rule for Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (M-COOL) will be less onerous for the red meat sector than originally feared, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 14 August 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

On 30 July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its interim final rule for Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling.

M-COOL is scheduled to take effect on 30 September but USDA will conduct education and outreach during the first six months to allow industry to adapt.

The legislation will require beef, lamb, chicken, pork, goat, perishable agricultural commodities, macadamia nuts, pecans, ginseng and peanuts to be labelled according to their cCountry of origin.

Paragon Economics president Dr Steve Meyer says the rules appear more flexible than originally feared.

Dr Steve Meyer-Paragon Economics

We're going to have, it looks like, four unique labels here, one dealing with meat, one dealing potentially with pigs born raised and slaughtered in the U.S. that could be product of the U.S. and then a multiple origin label that covers those pigs and the ones that are also brought in as feeder animals and then of course the label that says product of Canada and the U.S. for those brought in for direct slaughter.

That combination label does provide our packers a lot of flexibility on using pigs.

If there's a retailer that finds value in just having product of the U.S. they can deliver that.

If there's a retailer that says my customers don't see Canada being in any way an inferior product, product of the U.S. and Canada, they may find that label perfectly acceptable.

So the way the rule is written provides more flexibility than we thought we were going to get out of this and I think it's very good for our packers.

It's good for producers because it creates more of a flexible market especially for those weaned pigs and feeder pigs that come in from Canada.

Dr Meyer acknowledges there may be some price differential between U.S. and Canadian market hogs but he is confident it will not be as negative as originally had been feared.

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