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Opposition to Mandatory COOL Builds as Costs Become Clearer

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

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1348. 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 1348

The Canadian Pork Council says, as the anticipated costs become more apparent, support for maintaining a voluntary rather than mandatory US Country or Origin Labelling system continues to grow.

Indications are that the US House of Representatives and the US Senate are headed for a collision course over the planned implementation of mandatory Country of Origin Labelling. While Congress has already passed an appropriations bill which would deny funding for COOL, the senate version of the bill is expected to offer support for the provision.

Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Martin Rice says the matter will soon have to be resolved.

"The US government spending year beginning comes up soon so the appropriations process is supposed to be done in time for them to start the new year with a budget so they should be getting this thing resolved in the next four to six weeks. In the meantime we'd be looking for the USDA to put out a draft final rule one of these times and how they would see implementing this bill.

In that they probably will cover this matter of costs more explicitly than they have to date. The US General Accounting Office came out with some views in a study which maybe addresses some of the detailed aspects of the cost calculations but doesn't address the fact that this legislation really doesn't address any outstanding issue.

There is no consumer issue with Country of Origin Labelling and we're still reeling with regulations that are going to impose these requirements on industry. In any case, whether it's two billion or 1.8 billion, it's still going to be hugely expensive."

Several US based agricultural organizations have expressed opposition to mandatory Country of Origin Labelling from the start and others have come in line as more has been learned about the proposal.

Rice expects the USDA's final cost figures to be pretty shocking and he hopes they'll prompt some additional second thoughts.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor