Canadian Ag Minister Applauds Changes to M-COOL

CANADA - Canada's agriculture minister is applauding key changes made to US mandatory Country of Origin Labelling regulations, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 14 January 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

On Monday the US Department of Agriculture announced details of the final regulation for mandatory Country of Origin Labeling.

Under COOL American retailers are required to label muscle cuts and ground beef, lamb, chicken, goat and pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities including fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; macadamia nuts; pecan; ginseng and peanuts according to its country of origin.

Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz says, while the final rule includes provisions for US processors to label their products as exclusively American, it also recognizes the integration of the Canadian and US livestock industries and includes the options of labelling products as Canadian and American.

Gerry Ritz-Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister

Industry leaders in both Canada and the United States have consistently made the point that the border does not exist for the livestock industry.

Failing to recognize that reality would have added huge costs and red tape for Canadian producers and their livestock heading south.

That kind of protectionism threatened to drive down the prices for Canadian producers and it would have created instability throughout our livestock industry.

The final rule provides more flexibility on labelling requirements in the United States for meat from animals of both Canadian and American origin.

However we're going to keep working with the provinces and industry as we will continue to assess the impact of COOL.

That said, we will continue to stand up for Canadian producers and we will continue to work with the United States to keep trade running smoothly within North America during these difficult economic times.

Free and fair trade is essential to the economic health of livestock industries on both sides of the border.

The full text of the rule will be published in the 15 January Federal Register and the rule will take effect 16 March.

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