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Growing US Opposition to COOL Comes as No Surprise

by 5m Editor
24 September 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1349. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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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 1349

The head of the George Morris Centre says, considering the potential consequences, growing opposition within the US pork industry to mandatory Country of Origin Labelling comes as no surprise.

The George Morris Centre has released two studies on the potential impact of COOL, one focusing on the Canadian industry and the other on the US industry.

The studies suggest the trade disruptions caused by COOL will lead to higher hog production on both sides of the border lowering prices while increasing the cost of producing those hogs. Centre CEO Larry Martin says there is a sudden realization that the people who wanted this, including some American hog producers, are going to end up paying for it.

"I think the opposition is building because the people who are going to have to go through with this process are figuring out that it's totally impractical. The US, in particular, doesn't have anything like the kind of animal identification systems that are required to make this thing work given the great deal of specificity with which the labels have to be done.

They're saying it's going to cost too much and we've always been told by US retailers that nobody cares.

It's not providing information that US consumers care about so why are we spending all of this money trying to enforce something that nobody wants the information from? I've seen several people in the US go from being totally supportive of COOL to saying, 'what have we done to ourselves?'

I think it's kind of a matter of time till either they shoot themselves in the foot by passing it or they figure out that it wasn't such a good idea after all."

Martin says there has been a lot of analysis of the provision done in both Canada and the US and a lot of people in the US who will be affected are beginning to recognize the implications and potential consequences weren't thought through.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor