US COOL Discussed During Meetings in Des Moines

CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork Council says Country of Origin Labelling was the main topic discussed last week when representatives of the organisation traveled to Des Moines to meet with their American counterparts and various representatives of government, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 1 February 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week a delegation representing Manitoba Pork Council traveled to Des Moines to take part in the 2010 Iowa Pork Congress and to promote improved trade relations between the Canadian and US industries.

Topics discussed included the state of the North American pork industry Country of Origin labeling and animal welfare.

Pork Council chair Karl Kynoch says, because of the refusal of US packing plants to accept Canadian origin pigs due to Mandatory COOL, many US producers that had been buying baby pigs from Canada are now sitting with empty barns.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

The concerns related to COOL is just the fact that there's producers on both sides of the border that are sitting with some empty barns and basically have no way to operate these barns because if you're going to open them up you need somebody that's going to buy that end product.

Due to the fact that a lot of the packers in the US have actually cut off buying any hogs that originated as baby pigs out of Manitoba has really put restrictions on the access to that.

We've lost a large percentage of that market so there's a lot of concern with producers on both sides of the border.

Now we're seeing some of the spin-off effects such as that Sioux City packing plant closing down there in Iowa.

If we look back at the BSE situation, the same thing happened there.

When they restricted trade across the border some packing plants closed and never did reopen and we're starting to see some of the same spin-off effects on the hog side so there's a lot of concern there from US producers and from Canadian producers.

Mr Kynoch notes these trade advocacy missions have been going on for the past five years and relations among producers on the two sides of the border remain strong.

He says there is a recognition that Canadian and US producers need to be working together to compete on the world market.

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