Response of Retailers Expected to Determine Impact of U.S. V-COOL

Farmscape for April 22, 2024

The General Manager of Manitoba Pork says how retailers respond to new U.S. labelling requirements for meat, poultry and egg products will determine just how disruptive the regulations will be.
Last month U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced U.S. voluntary country of original labelling will come into effect by January 1, 2026.
Last week representatives of the Canadian pork sector met with federal agriculture minister Lawrence McCauley to express their concerns and discuss strategy moving forward.
Cam Dahl, the General Manager of Manitoba Pork, says the fear is that this change will disrupt the integrated nature of the North American market and result in discrimination against Canadian pigs, as was the case with U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling which was successfully challenged at the World Trade Organization.

Quote-Cam Dahl-Manitoba Pork:
We see retailers like Costco, for example, that label their pork products, even here in downtown Winnipeg, as Product of the USA and today the two million pigs that go into Iowa to be finished and processed and packaged are eligible for that Product of the USA label because most of the effort to produce that pork is actually done in the United States.
When this change in regulation comes into effect, that would no longer be the case and someone buying Manitoba pigs in Iowa is probably going to think twice about that purchase because their processor is thinking twice about buying animals that don't conform to the Product of the USA labelling.
Perhaps the most important question there is what retailers are going to be doing.
We really haven't had the opportunity to have those in-depth conversations as of yet.
Those discussions really did need to wait until after the final rule was published.
That's part of the work that we'll be doing in the next year and a half before the new regulations come into effect.

Dahl says the benefits of an integrated market are apparent to producers on both sides of the Canada U.S. border and Mexico and they'll be working together to seek alternatives.
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Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is produced on behalf of North America’s pork producers