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Council Blames M-COOL for Processing Plant Closure

by 5m Editor
25 January 2010, at 11:39am

CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork Council is blaming US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (M-COOL) for the planned closure of John Morrell's Sioux City, Iowa hog processing plant, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The impact of US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling on pork producers on both sides of the Canada-US border was among the key issues discussed last week when a delegation from Manitoba Pork Council traveled to Minnesota for a series of trade advocacy meetings.

Manitoba Pork Council chair Karl Kynoch says, because of COOL, there are fewer Canadian pigs moving south resulting in empty barns in the US and fewer hogs available for US processing plants.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

Packing plants need to run to full capacity to be able to make sure that they stay viable so Country of Origin Labelling has probably played a very large role in the fact that that plant is shutting down.

If you look at the numbers that that plant used to operate it coincides very well with the numbers of reduced production that's coming out of Canada going into the US so Country of Origin Labelling has probably had a huge impact on that plant being shut down.

If we look back at the beef industry when they implemented border restrictions due to BSE there was a number of beef plants that closed down in the US also when they were restricted access to product and those plants have still never re-opened today.

I would say the Country of Origin Labelling has definitely lowered the price as we talk to a lot of producers that are still receiving less money for their weanlings if they come out of Canada and is now going to cause a lot of job lay-offs in the US due to the closure of that plant.


Mr Kynoch observes Country of Origin Labelling has reduced the movement of Canadian slaughter hogs into the US by 90 per cent and Canadian weanlings by about 40 per cent and will it now cost nearly 15 thousand jobs in Sioux City as well as associated spin-off jobs.

He suspects the closure of the Sioux City plant is just the start of the negative impacts of COOL.

The delegation continues its trade advocacy mission this week when it travels to Des Moines for the 2010 Iowa Pork Congress.