Support Builds Among US Legislators for Changes to Mandatory COOL

US & CANADA - Saskatchewan's minister of agriculture says there is a growing recognition within the US of the risks posed to the US packing industry from Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 21 November 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

Earlier this month a delegation of Canadian beef and pork sector representatives, the federal agriculture minister and agriculture ministers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta attended the North American Meat Association Outlook conference in Chicago to build alliances with potential US allies to lobby against COOL.

Saskatchewan Agriculture minister Lyle Stewart told those on hand yesterday for Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2013 the US packing industry recognizes COOL will hurt their industry but the attitudes of legislators are all over the map.

Lyle Stewart-Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister

There's a substantial and I think growing body of US legislators in both houses that are seeing that this thing was hasty and that it's going to hurt the US as much as it is us and of course there's still a substantial number of legislators down there that have enough good will that they don't want to hurt us either and so I think there's room for some sober second thought on this if an opportunity presents itself, for instance in a debate of a new farm bill to include this and come up with a legislative solution.

We're very hopeful that that will happen.

Their system is complex and unpredictable even to those who know it well so even those, as I say, that are very familiar with the system find it hard to predict whether or not there will be a farm bill, whether of not COOL can be included in it and whether or not there's enough votes to change COOL in a substantial manner that might be acceptable to us or repeal it.

Mr Stewart notes the American Meat Institute predicts if and when the new rules are fully implemented nine thousand Americans will be put out of work and up to seven major US packing plants will close.

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