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Manitoba's Agriculture Minister Notes Movement on US COOL

by 5m Editor
7 April 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1215. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Manitoba Pork Council


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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1215

Manitoba's Agriculture Minister says the US appears to be recognizing the concerns on both sides of the border over planned mandatory country of origin labelling. Mandatory US country of origin labelling is scheduled to replace the current voluntary system in September 2004.

COOL surfaced as a key issue last week when agriculture ministers from Canada, the US and Mexico met for the 13th annual Tri-National Accord.

Rosann Wowchuk says she's pleased to learn the US is recognizing the concerns and will hold consultations to examine ways to improve the proposed legislation.

"They talk about a system that they have in Florida for country of origin labelling for fruits and vegetables that's working very well but our issue is, animals are different than fruits and vegetables.

The fruit grows in one state so they can easily put the label on it that says grown in Florida or grown in the US.

The difference with pork is that the weanlings can be raised in Manitoba and then go down to Iowa and be fed out there and they may come back into Manitoba to be slaughtered so what label will it get on it?

Should it have a Canadian label because the hog was born in Manitoba or should it have a US label because it was fed out in the US with US grains or should it have a joint label.

The beef is even more complex because it can be born in the US, fed in Canada and then go back to the US.

Those issues aren't resolved so we in Canada are going to be following those consultations very closely.

We have been invited to participate in them and I think this will be very helpful as the US moves toward country of origin labelling."

Wowchuk says she has met with representatives of Alberta, Saskatchewan and several states to discuss country of origin labelling.

She says she plans to work with commodity groups, like Manitoba Pork Council and the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association on suggestions that can be presented to the US for improving the legislation.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor