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Opponents Focus on Negative Impacts of M-COOL on US Meat Processors

11 July 2013, at 7:28am

US and CANADA - Alberta's agriculture minister says growing numbers of Americans are beginning to contemplate the potential negative effects of US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling on US meat processors.

In May, in response to a World Trade Organization order to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling in compliance with its world trade obligations, the US added new labelling requirements for muscle cut covered commodities, including fresh beef and pork.

Last month members of the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders unanimously passed a resolution encouraging the US Congress to implement a legislated resolution to the issue that will build markets for US products rather than impose additional requirements on meat producers and processors.

Alberta agriculture minister Verlyn Olson says the strategy was to bring home to the Americans the idea that this affects them in a negative way as well.

Verlyn Olson-Agriculture Minister Alberta:

The whole idea of these Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling measures is that, if an animal is not born, raised and slaughtered in the United States then it has to be separated out by labelling and that causes a lot of extra cost for people up and down the supply chain, certainly extra costs for packers.

We have heard of some packing plants in the United States closing partly because of that.

Also the other big issue is that, as they add on more and more expense to our producers, it's turning off the tap so to speak of the supply of live animals to American packing plants so it's compromising them in a number of ways.

It can mean jobs for Americans and these are the types of things that we're trying to point out.

Mr Olson notes Canada has a great trading relationship with the United States and to take a step that doesn't add any value only costs and red tape is not productive.

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