Further Changes to M-COOL Looking Less Likely

by 5m Editor
8 June 2009, at 12:35pm

CANADA - A Des Moines based agricultural economist says it's looking less and less likely that there will be further changes to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling laws, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Shortly before the final rule for US Mandatory Country of Labelling came into effect in mid-March US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack called on US processors and retailers to voluntarily provide additional labelling information.

Paragon Economics president Dr. Steve Meyer, on hand last week for World Pork Expo in Des Moines, says it's looking less and less likely that that request will result in further changes to the labelling law.

Dr. Steve Meyer-Paragon Economics

When secretary Vilsack took office he sent the famous memo out that asked people to go beyond what the law required and what the regulations required.

To my knowledge no-one has done that, they're going to meet the terms of the law.

I think as long as the amount of product that shows up in our retail cases that is Label A, Product of US, is commensurate to the number of pigs that are actually raised in the US, that is we're not moving very many U.S. born pigs over into Label B, I don't know that we're going to hear any more about that, especially on top of the economic situation we're facing now.

Finally, again, as we get down the road on Country of Origin Labelling at the grocery level I think we're going to find that consumers don't care, especially about Canada.

We view things positively.

You do a good job so I don't think there are going to be changes.

I will also point out that, if there are changes, that's not good because it's probably going to be something more restrictive instead of being anything relaxing those regulations that are in place right now.

Dr. Meyer says, because USDA doesn't break down prices according to source, it's difficult to calculate the impact of COOL but there is anecdotal evidence that Canadian sourced pigs are being discounted anywhere from six to 10 dollars per head.

He notes, in the last couple of weeks we have heard of some packers that had intended to only buy US pigs buying some Canadian sourced pigs.