Potential Implications of US M-COOL

CANADA - Canadian hog producers will be watching the reaction of American pork processors and retailers in determining he potential implications of new US mandatory Country of Origin Labelling Rules, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 16 January 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

On Monday the US Department of Agriculture released its final rule for mandatory Country of Origin Labelling.

Since the interim final rule took effect 30 September the export of Canadian hogs to US plants for direct slaughter has fallen dramatically while the export of weanling and grower pigs for finishing in the US has also slowed.

Under the revised rule US processors will still be expected to label pork from hogs born, raised and slaughtered in the US as "Product of the US" but they'll have a greater level of flexibility when mixing US origin pork with Canadian origin pork under the "Product of Canada and the US" label.

Manitoba Pork Council Chairman Karl Kynoch welcomes the release of the final rule and the changes it contains.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

It looks like it could be fairly positive.

There's been a few changes made to it where some of the classes will be able to be moved around a little bit, depending on a production day for the packers and what they've commingled in a day.

The report looks fairly good but what remains to be see is how are the packers going to react to this and how are the retailers going to react to this.

At the end of the day it's going to be up to the packers whether they want to produce two separate labels, whether they want to produce a label A which is product of US only or they want to produce a label A and a label B, where the label B can contain product of both countries, for example Canada and the US.

It remains to be see how they are going to treat it down the road going forward so we'll be watching that very close.

And, also again, are the retailers going to carry the two labels.

We'll have to watch this very close over the next while and see what kind of an impact it has on the market conditions.

Kynoch says, now that the final rule is out, at least everyone knows what the playing field is and what to do when developing business plans going forward.

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