Restrictions Under M-COOL Create Added Confusion

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council says stepped up pressure to restrict the mixing of Canadian and U.S. born pigs under Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling is creating additional confusion, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 7 October 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Under Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling U.S. retailers are required to identify the nation from which a range of food products, including pork, originated.

Under rules developed by the USDA American processors who source pigs from Canada and the U.S. would be free to label the meat as product of the United States and Canada.

Canadian Pork Council executive director Martin Rice says there has been some backlash against allowing the co-mingling of Canadian and U.S. born pigs.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council

For the U.S. born and raised animal there is a label that says product of the U.S. but processors have an option that, if their customers don't insist on having product of the U.S., they can mix those product of the U.S. eligible animals with animals that are born in Canada and raised in the U.S. and that would have a label on it such as product of the United States and Canada.

But there are people that have been quite surprised it seems that the option exists and they seem to be making some pressure to make it more difficult to mix those U.S. born and raised animals with the Canadian born.

It'll probably be several months before that can be addressed if there's going to be a change but, in the mean time we would hope that we can have people realize that there's no point in putting demands on processors which cause them to have to make business decisions that are not in the best interests of the U.S. livestock producers having efficient and fully utilized slaughter plants.

Rice notes several U.S. processors, most notably Smithfield Foods have indicated they'll access only product that is eligible for the U.S. label.

He says the reaction of U.S. processors is expected to be a major topic of discussion during pork council meetings next month.

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