Canadian pork sector opposes US
Canadian beef and pork producers have called on Ottawa
to oppose the US plan for country of origin labels and tracking rules on beef
and pork products.
According to the Canadian Cattleman's Association and the Canadian Pork Council, the labelling plan
would not violate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and World
Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, but would result in extra costs of CAN $500
million (US $505 million) per year.
The labelling, which is planned to
come into effect in September, would require US importers of Canadian cattle and
pigs to slaughter them separately from US animals. The packaging of the meat
would be labelled with 'From Canada and the United States'. For animals born in
the US, the label would read 'Product of the USA'.
naturally fear that slaughterhouses and supermarkets will cease purchasing
Canadian animals due to the inconvenience and cost involved.
Violation of agreement
Masswohl, spokesman for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said "we believe
very strongly that this violates the United States' trade obligations to
Ottawa is being called upon by Canadian groups to lobby US
senators to prevent the law from passing. An official challenge cannot be
launched by the federal government until the law comes into force.
Executive director of the Canadian Pork Council, Martin Rice,
commented that it would be better for Ottawa to fight the law before it comes
into effect and not after as this could take years.
He believes that,
"They should be fighting it over the next few weeks, it is a disaster. Many in
the US meat industry have acknowledged that this is not about food safety, but
rather about making it harder for consumers to purchase products from outside
No Agriculture Canada officials were available for comment.
However, the government has formally opposed the plan in writing to the US
Masswohl believes that this is not
enough. He stated that the federal officials "acknowledge the importance of this
issue and have spoken to their counterparts about it, but they need to do
â€¢ Canadian Cattlemen's
â€¢ Canadian Pork Council
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