Farmscape for March 26, 2013
The Canadian Pork Council suggests proposed modifications to U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling will increase rather than eliminate the discrimination against live cattle and hogs imported into the U.S from Canada and Mexico.
U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling requires American retailers to identify the country of origin of a range of food products.
In response to a World Trade Organization order to bring the legislation into compliance with its WTO obligations by May 23, the USDA issued a proposed rule to modify provisions for muscle cut covered commodities.
Canadian Pork Council executive director Martin Rice says the proposed rule fails to address the situation.
Clip-Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council:
The proposal actually increases the labelling burden in that it now requires the locations of the production, the birth, the processing all to be indicated on the label so this is probably going to increase the number of labelling options that processors would need to be in compliance with if they chose to still purchase any non U.S. born animals.
It also eliminates co-mingling which did give some flexibility to U.S. processors to choose to for certain limited amounts of time combine meat from animals that would be subject to different labels.
The couldn't call it Label-A, I.E. the U.S. product but they could put some product which would have been subject to a U.S. label along with product from a B-Label which is born outside the U.S. but raised in the U.S. as well as C which is born and raised outside the United States.
None of the mixing can happen any more so this increases the segregation requirements and burden for the U.S. processing industry.
Rice says, if the proposed rule moves forward unchanged, Canada will be in position to request a follow up WTO investigation and seek permission to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products imported into Canada.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council