Pork Producers Reject Proposed Amendments to M-COOL

CANADA - Manitoba Pork Council says proposed changes to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling do nothing to bring the legislation into compliance with the United States' international trade obligations, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 18 March 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

In December the World Trade Organization gave the U.S. until May 23 to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling into compliance with its international trade obligations or face the prospects of retaliatory tariffs.

Last week the USDA issued a proposed rule to modify labeling provisions for muscle cut covered commodities to require the origin designation to indicate where each production step, born, raised and slaughtered occurred and remove the allowance for commingling of muscle cuts.

Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson says the changes will add considerable cost to the American system and we don't know if US processors will continue buying live animals from Canada or Mexico.

Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council

Our hope is that the few processors that still do this will be prepared to try and make this thing work in some way.

We know in the last couple of days that the major farm organizations in the United States are coming out against these proposed changes.

The amendments that US government is proposing are tentative.

There's a public comment period and there's still room for some changes to be made in these things.
Essentially what they're proposing is regulatory changes that were actually proposed in 2002 and at that time were deemed as inappropriate and unworkable by industry including producers and their processors and the retail organizations.

Here we are going back to something that was over ten years ago determined was unworkable and yet the United States government is proposing as its way of meeting its WTO obligations that this is a good way of doing it.

Mr Dickson says the proposed changes do nothing to address the issue of segregation at the packing plants so Canadian and Mexican animals will continue to be discriminated against.

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