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Cargill transitions pork programme to COOL

Cargill, processor and distributor of, pork have announced it is beginning to transition its beef and pork programmes to the “Product of the USA” and “Product of USA, Canada, Mexico” labels. The company expects to have a minimum of 70 percent of product meet the “Product of the USA” labelling standard beginning January 1, 2009.

Under the USDA's Country of Origin Labelling programme, the “Product of the USA” label A means the livestock were born, raised and harvested in the US. For multiple countries of origin, Cargill will use label B, “Product of USA, Canada, Mexico” which means the livestock may be born in one country, but sent at an early age to the US to be raised and processed.

Effectively and efficiently
Cargill this week began working with many of its largest beef and pork customers and producers to ensure that labelling can be done effectively and efficiently. Cargill Pork President Dirk Jones said, “We are confident that we can meet the needs of producers for an efficient marketing system and the needs of the retailer for top quality pork.”

At the same time, the company reiterated its commitment to serve producers who source top quality cattle and hogs from outside the US. “We are deeply committed to North American cattle and hog producers and will work to see that they can achieve the highest possible return for their hard work and investment,” Beef President John Keating Keating added.

Keating and Jones believe the transition can be accomplished in an efficient manner by working in partnership with producers to ensure that animals with common characteristics are delivered to its processing plants grouped together. “We anticipate that we will need to make some shifts in the way we operate our plants, probably designating different delivery windows for different types of animals,” said Keating. Jones believes the company can manage complexity by working closely with its retail, food service, and export customers.

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