Changes to M-COOL Could Add Significantly to Pork, Beef Costs

CANADA - The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board warns changes to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling will add to the cost of processing beef and pork in the United States without providing any added benefits, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 July 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

In May, in response to a WTO order to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling into compliance with its world trade obligations, the US amended provisions for red meat to require details of where each production step occurred and banned the co-mingling of products from different countries.

Saskatchewan Pork Development Board chair Florian Possberg notes US processors have indicated the additional labelling requirements will add significantly to their costs.

Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

They've estimated that just trying to incorporate the definition of where the animals are coming from will end up costing a number of dollars per animal in the case of hogs and quite a bit more for the larger animals.

It's caused them significant costs and there doesn't appear to be any real benefit from a consumer point of view because, number one, very few consumers are aware of the details on any labels and secondly most Americans have no issue with Canadian sourced pork for example that only spends the first three weeks of their lives in Canada, spends the rest of their time in the US.

Canada has a reputation of very good food safety and quality anyway so there doesn't appear to be any significant benefit for the American consumers.

Mr Possberg notes Canada and Mexico have the legal right to retaliate against the US but no one wants to see that option pursued.

Instead he hopes the Americans will come up with the changes that will bring the legislation into compliance and eliminate the discrimination.

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